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Alfred Lion

Alfred Lion - Blue Note founder, producer, (1908 - 1987)


In 1925, 16-year old Alfred Lion noticed a concert poster for Sam Wooding's orchestra near his favorite ice-skating arena in his native Berlin, Germany. He'd heard many of his mother's jazz records and began to take an interest in the music, but that night his life was changed. The impact of what he heard live touched a deep passion within him. His thirst for the music temporarily brought him to New York in 1928 where he worked on the docks and slept in Central Park to get closer to the music.

On December 23, 1938, Lion attended the celebrated Spirituals to Swing concert at Carnegie Hall. The power, soul and beauty with which boogie woogie piano masters Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis rocked the stage gripped him. Exactly two weeks later, on January 6 at 2 in the afternoon, he brought them into a New York studio to make some recordings. They took turns at the one piano, recording four solos each before relinquishing the bench to the other man. The long session ended with two stunning duets. Blue Note Records was finally a reality.

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