Doc: Blue Note Records
Blue Note Records was the first jazz label to fully grasp the potential of the LP era. When the 78 began to give way to the 10-inch album in 1948, co-founders Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff immediately understood the value of modern jazz, the efficiency of magnetic tape and the marketing potential of album covers. Immigrants from Berlin, they were comfortable with change and knew that embracing new ways of doing things presented opportunities, provided you rigidly followed a proven formula for success.
In the 12-inch LP era starting in 1955, Lion and Wolff (above) pioneered the six-song album that featured at least two standards, they turned all matters of recording over to Rudy Van Gelder, an equally eccentric jazz fan who was passionate about sound and recreating the depth and warmth of how the music sounded in the studio. The music recorded for Blue Note in the 1950s and '60s was always dramatic while the covers by Wolf and then Reid Miles delivered a nocturnal, cool mystique. As jazz styles changed in reaction to their times, the label became the chief incubator of hard bop, funk and jazz boogaloo.
Here's Blue Note: A Story of Modern Jazz, a 1997 documentary on the label directed by Julian Benedikt and Andreas Morell. You'll find the DVD here.
A special thanks to Tom Fine.