Blue Note 75th Anniversary Portfolio

Mosaic Singles


Blue Note 75th Anniversary Portfolio

As Blue Note Records, one of the most influential and consistently cutting-edge labels in jazz, enters its 75th year, Mosaic Records is proud to assemble this commemorative portfolio of seven of its most iconic photographs of artists from the label’s classic era.
Limited Edition

Available Until Dec. 31, 2014 -  $1,500.00


Blue Note 75th Anniversary Portfolio
Francis Wolff: The Eye Of Blue Note


Limited Edition Historic Portfolio
This portfolio comes in a fine, hand-made folio designed as a stylish brief, with a folder-over flap secured with a magnetic closure. They are constructed of archival binder board (.098), bound in smooth, black, linen-textured fabric. The lining is of acid-free paper in bright white. Each folio contains a vellum sheet commemorating Blue Note Records’ 75th Anniversary with information about all 7 photographs. Each photographic print is separated by tissue paper.

The Best We Know How To Make
These 11” x 17” fine art prints with an image size of 10” x 10” are made with archival pigment inks on 100% acid-free Hahnemuhle watercolor paper with a matte finish.. The velvety blacks on this paper give the images a rich depth.

Francis Wolff: The Eye Of Blue Note
At Blue Note recording sessions in the '50s and '60s, Francis Wolff was building an archive of great photographic value and a visual documentation of jazz history unmatched at any other record company. His ability to light, frame and capture a shot was astonishing. He had an instant with a preoccupied musician to create a magnificent portrait. His eye and his technique nailed it, usually in the first shot…..not unlike the way great jazz soloists can nail a masterpiece on the first take.

Francis Wolff was born in Berlin on April 6, 1907. His lifelong passions for jazz and photography began as a teenager. His escape from Nazi Germany on the last boat from Berlin bound for New York in October 1939 saved his life and changed it in every conceivable way. The comfortable, Bohemian environment in which he'd been raised in Berlin was finally shattered; his siblings made it to England and he to the United States. For the rest of his family, denial of the dangers of The Third Reich proved fatal.

An accomplished photographer at home, Wolff came to New York without means. He got a job in photographic studio by day and reunited with his boyhood friend Alfred Lion to work on Blue Note Records by night. His passion for jazz ran as deep as his love of photography, and soon he was completely immersed in the record company. By the end of World War Two, Francis and Alfred were able to make a living working solely on Blue Note. Two men running a small, struggling business is an all-consuming affair. For Frank, photography took a back seat to the demands of Blue Note (which, in that era of the 78 single records in plain brown sleeves, did not include artwork or photographs).

Still, he took his camera to each Blue Note session, taking candid shots of the proceedings at Rudy Van Gelder's studio while Alfred produced the sessions. His eye was as remarkable as his technique. He captured wonderful, evocative moments, perfectly framed.

By the mid-fifties, Frank's photography suddenly had a use, albeit a functionary one. In the hands of designer Reid Miles, Frank's heavily cropped and tinted images would become an integral part of the Blue Note's album covers. What could not have been divined from those covers was that Francis Wolff, while running a record company 16 hours a day, had evolved into a master photographer.

Van Gelder, an avid photographer himself, remembers, "The majority of the pictures that Frank took were with the Rolleiflex with a hand-held flash, held at arm's length. He'd hold the camera in his left hand and hold the flash up with his right hand - statue-of-liberty style- trying to get the light source in the proper position. At Blue Note sessions, Art Blakey was the thunder and Frank was the lightning."

Please join us in celebrating the anniversary of Blue Note Records and the many classic recordings produced and the unique genius of Francis Wolff, and take advantage of this opportunity to own this very special portfolio of photographs.

The Photographs

Art Blakey at Lee Morgan's "Leeway" session of April 28, 1960 at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey.

With then current employer Art Blakey, bandmate Bobby Timmons on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Jackie McLean on alto saxophone, trumpeter Lee Morgan abandoned time constraints and stretched out on four soulful, hard bop compositions on this singular album. The band is constantly inspired by Blakey's explosive grooves.

Curtis Fuller and John Coltrane at Coltrane's "Blue Train" session of September 15, 1957 at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey.

"Blue Train" was John Coltane's first great masterpiece with Lee Morgan, Curtis Fuller, Kenny Drew, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones. All of Coltrane's compositions are classics. The superbly executed and blended ensembles have a haunting quality and each solo is a memorable treasure.

Miles Davis and J.J. Johnson at Davis's "Miles Davis All-Stars" session of April 20, 1953 at WOR Studios, New York City.

Miles Davis's 1953 sextet session with J.J. Johnson, Jimmy Heath, Gil Coggins, Percy Heath and the powerful Art Blakey generated such classics as "Tempus Fugit," "C.T.A." and the ballad "I Waited For You."

Herbie Hancock at his "Inventions & Dimensions" session of August 30, 1963 at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Herbie Hancock chose a very rhythmic setting for his improvised compositions on "Inventions & Dimensions." Supported only by bassist Paul Chambers and percussionists Willie Bobo and Osvaldo Martinez, the pianist creates each tune from scratch and the results are astonishing.

Thelonious Monk at his "Thelonious Monk Sextet" session of May 30, 1952 at WOR Studios, New York City.

Monk's May 20, 1952 date boasted an unusual blend of hornmen in Kenny Dorham, Lou Donaldson and Lucky Thompson plus the rhythm team of Nelson Boyd and Max Roach. The session gave us Monk's unique take on the 1928 tune "Carolina Moon" and introduced several new Monk compositions such as "Let's Cool One" and the impossibly difficult "Skippy."

Horace Silver at The Open Door, New York City, March 1955.

The quintet that made two Horace Silver 10" LPs in November 1954 and February 1955 was so simpatico that they formed a co-operative group known as The Jazz Messengers. In March, the band (Silver, Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley, Doug Watkins and Art Blakey) made their debut at the Open Door in New York City. They went on to define the Blue Note sound in particular and hard bop in general.

Jimmy Smith at an unknown Philadelphia club, March 1956

Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff went to hear Jimmy Smith at Small's Paradise in Harlem in January 1956. Wolff wrote, "He was a stunning sight. A man in convulsions, face contorted, crouched over in apparent agony, his fingers flying, his feet dancing over the pedals." Within two weeks, Jimmy Smith was making his first album for Blue Note and a month later, Wolff was at a Philadelphia club with his camera to capture what he saw.

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Blue Note 75th Anniversary Portfolio
Blue Note 75th Anniversary Portfolio
Limited Edition: copies
Available Until Dec. 31, 2014 - $1,500.00

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Blue Note 75th Anniversary Portfolio

As Blue Note Records, one of the most influential and consistently cutting-edge labels in jazz, enters its 75th year, Mosaic Records is proud to assemble this commemorative portfolio of seven of its most iconic photographs of artists from the label’s classic era.