Blue Note Records is one of the preeminent labels in jazz history, known mainly for its hard bop, a style which combines bebop with elements of soul and R&B. Blue Note recording artists include Lee Morgan, Jimmy Smith, Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Eric Dolphy, Dexter Gordon, Horace Silver, and Donald Byrd.
As great as the music was, Blue Note is perhaps equally lauded for its contribution to the graphic arts. Cover artist Reid Miles developed a distinctive style that used black and white photographs with limited color palettes to great effect. There simply aren't any cooler album covers. See more here and here. Now enjoy some music. I know jazz isn't the usual fare around here, but this stuff is pretty good. Give it a listen.
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Moanin' [purchase]
John Coltrane: Lazy Bird [purchase]
Jimmy Smith: Back At The Chicken Shack [purchase]
For one more great Blue Note track, head over to my main blog.