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Take a Look at the Fabled Blue Note Records Album Covers

As we prepare for opening night screening of “It Must Schwing: The Blue Note Story” at the Boulder JCC on Thursday, March 7, jazz is on my mind – and on my Pandora station.

The Mark Diamond Quartet is polishing up its classic repertoire for the reception in the lobby prior to the screening, where we invite audiences to imagine they are in Manhattan in the 1950s for a cool jazz party, with the requisite poo-poo platters and Chinese takeout from the corner.

The Boulder Jewish Film Festival kicks off its 7th season by paying tribute to two German Jewish refugees – boyhood friends from Berlin – who founded the legendary Blue Note Records. True jazz lovers who hated the prejudice they found in America after fleeing Nazi Germany, “the Lion and the Wolf” are fondly remembered by the musicians whose lives they transformed in this touching tale of musical history and social change.

The Lion and the Wolf

Although Alfred Lion gets the lion’s share of the credit for his artistic leadership from 1939 to 1966, it was the painfully shy photographer Francis Wolff who contributed to the labels’ success and clearly defined the fabled Blue Note “look.” Today, record collectors often buy classic albums for their stunningly innovative covers alone.

All covers featured photos of the artists, a sincere sign of respect that was much appreciated by the musicians battling for legitimacy. The covers were always dignified, despite bold use of colors, and were never garish or sensational.

The work of one talented young designer, Reid Miles, these contemporary, bold, fresh covers conveyed the essence of jazz. The covers have been complied into books twice, and remain highly prized.

Take a look, take a listen. We look forward to seeing you at the Boulder Jewish Film Festival! Opening night, Thursday March 7, 2019 | 6:00 pm reception |7:00 pm screening.



About Kathryn Bernheimer

Director of Menorah: Arts, Culture and Education at the Boulder JCC. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time."

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