Blue Note Records is an American jazz record label owned by Universal Music Group and operated under Capitol Music Group. Established in 1939 by Alfred Lion and Max Margulis, it derived its name from the blue notes of jazz and the blues. Originally dedicated to recording traditional jazz and small group swing, the label switched its attention to modern jazz around 1947.
Historically, Blue Note has principally been associated with the “hard bop” style of jazz (mixing bebop with other forms of music including soul, blues, rhythm and blues and gospel), but also recorded essential albums in the avant-garde and free styles of jazz. Horace Silver, Jimmy Smith, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Art Blakey, Grant Green, Hank Mobley, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Hutcherson, and Jackie McLean were among the label's leading artists. During its heyday, the 1950s and 1960s, the photography and graphic art of Reid Miles created a series of iconic album covers, often incorporating session photos by Wolff, which added to Blue Note's artistic reputation.