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Blue Note Records is a jazz record label, established in 1939 by Alfred Lion and Max Margulis (Francis Wolff became involved shortly afterwards). It derived its unique trademark name from the characteristic "blue notes" of jazz and the blues. Blue Note dominated the artistic and commercial courses of jazz music, when the genre was in its infancy. Blue Note was also known for their striking and unusual album cover designs.

Interestingly, the label's first brochure in May of 1939 carried a statement of purpose that Lion rarely strayed from throughout the many styles and years during which he built one of the greatest jazz record companies in the world. It read:

"Blue Note Records are designed simply to serve the uncompromising expressions of hot jazz or swing, in general. Any particular style of playing which represents an authentic way of musical feeling is genuine expression. By virtue of its significance in place, time and circumstance, it possesses its own tradition, artistic standards and audience that keeps it alive. Hot jazz, therefore, is expression and communication, a musical and social manifestation, and Blue Note records are concerned with identifying its impulse, not its sensational and commercial adornments.”

Historically, Blue Note has principally been associated with the "hard bop" style of jazz which is a blend of bebop with other forms of music including soul, blues, rhythm and blues and gospel. Horace Silver, Jimmy Smith, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Art Blakey, Lou Donaldson, Donald Byrd and Grant Green were among the label's leading artists, but it seemed that almost all the important musicians in the postwar jazz era recorded for Blue Note on occasion, most of the time only once. The mid to late 1950s saw debut recordings for Blue Note by Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Herbie Nichols, Sonny Clark, Kenny Dorham, Kenny Burrell, Jackie McLean, Donald Byrd and Lou Donaldson among many others. Other influential jazz pioneers that recorded vinyl records with Blue Note were Cannonball Adderley, David Axelrod, Anita Baker, Count Basie, Clifford Brown, Hoagy Carmichael, King Curtis, Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Benny Goodman, Lena Horne, Etta James, Harry James, just to name a few.

Blue Note Records is currently owned by the EMI Group and in 2006 was expanded to fill the role of an umbrella label group bringing together a wide variety of EMI-owned labels and imprints specializing in the growing market segment of music for adults. Today, Blue Note Records is the flagship jazz label for Capitol Jazz and Classics and is the parent label for the Capitol Jazz, Pacific Jazz, Roulette and other labels within Capitol's holdings which possessed a jazz line. And that mission statement that was developed in the beginning is still carried out to this day.

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