(Boston) The Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame will explore the founding of America’s most influential Jazz label with “The All Seeing Eye: Blue Note Records Through the Lens of Francis Wolff.” Curated by the Museum Collective with Blue Note Records, the exhibit will feature some of the 20,000 photographs from Blue Note co-founder Francis Wolff. It will open to the public on May 1, 2024, inside the Boch Center Wang Theatre. Tours are available now at FARHOF.org

Berlin-born photographer Francis Wolff fled Nazi Germany in 1939 bound for New York City where he reunited with his childhood friend and fellow jazz enthusiast Alfred Lion, joining him in running his newly founded label Blue Note Records. Soon, Wolff was bringing his Rolleiflex camera to recording sessions and jazz clubs where he captured intimate, relaxed portraits of musicians at work, and over the next three decades he documented jazz history as it happened. While these candid photographs gave the Blue Note brand a distinctive look, Wolff’s images are now recognized as true works of art.

“Francis Wolff’s camera bore witness to one of the most creative eras in modern music,” said Don Was, President of Blue Note Records. “These incredible photos transport you right back into Rudy Van Gelder’s recording studio – providing unique insight into these master musicians and their indomitable spirit.”

Blue Note Records was founded in 1939 when German-Jewish immigrant Lion produced his first recording session with boogie woogie pianists Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis. Wolff joined him in running the company in 1940. In 1955, Blue Note hired graphic designer Reid Miles to design album covers. Over the next 12 years Miles designed over 500 covers, many of which incorporated Wolff’s photographs. This visual artistry, combined with consistently transcendent music and superior sound quality by engineer Rudy Van Gelder, resulted in Blue Note becoming one of the most influential and longest-running jazz labels in the world. The Blue Note catalog traces the entire history of the genre from early jazz through bebop, hard bop, post-bop, soul jazz, avant-garde, and fusion, to the vibrant sounds being created by the most prominent stars and cutting-edge innovators of today. Blue Note artists are a true who’s who of jazz history: Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Jimmy Smith, Dexter Gordon, Lee Morgan, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and many more.

The Folk America Roots Hall of Fame is a cultural and education initiative of the Boch Center located inside the Wang Theatre at 270 Tremont St. Boston, Massachusetts. Curated by The Museum Collective, FARHOF is geared to music lovers of all ages, providing educational offerings to ensure legacies are honored and new musical traditions are nurtured for generations to come. These genres of music have historically provided an outlet for individuals of all races and backgrounds, and from every corner of the United States to express their joys, sorrows, and experiences. 

Through exhibits, lectures, concerts, educational programming and more, Boston’s new cultural destination continues to advance its mission and vision for people of all ages. Recent and current exhibits include Bruce Springsteen: Portraits of an American Music Icon; Legends of Folk, Americana, Roots Music; Arlo Guthrie: Native Son; Life in Six Strings; Don't Think Twice: The Daniel Kramer Photographs of Bob Dylan, 1964-65; Boston: A Music Town; The Wang Theatre: A Century of Great Music; historic artifacts from David Bieber Archives and the Cultural Heroes sculptures on loan from Alan LeQuire Galleries in Nashville, TN.

For updates, information about tours and upcoming events and exhibits please more visit www.FARHOF.org

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About the Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame:
In 2019, the Boch Center expanded its educational programming and launched the Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame (FARHOF), Boston’s living music museum which celebrates the lifeblood of America’s musical and cultural heritage. Folk music provides an outlet for individuals of all races and backgrounds to express their highest joys and deepest sorrows. 

FARHOF is dedicated to honoring the past, celebrating the present and nurturing the future of Folk, Americana Roots musicians. By learning from the past, the Boch Center and FARHOF hope to influence meaningful conversations today. 

Housed in the Wang Theatre, FARHOF celebrates Folk, Americana and Roots music through displays, memorabilia, artifacts, events, lectures, exhibits, concerts, and educational programs. 

About the Boch Center:

The Boch Center is one of the nation’s leading nonprofit performing arts institutions and a guardian of the historic Wang and Shubert Theatres. As New England’s largest cultural venue, the Boch Center is home to theater, classical and popular music, dance, comedy, opera, Broadway musicals, family entertainment, and more.

Located in Boston’s historic Theater District, the Boch Center also offers a diverse mix of educational, cultural and community outreach initiatives, including the City Spotlights Leadership Program and the Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame; collaborates with artists and local nonprofit arts organizations; preserves historic venues; and acts as a champion for Greater Boston’s arts and cultural community. Learn more at bochcenter.org.

About the Museum Collective: 

The Museum Collective is a consortium of music museum professionals that creates special exhibitions and programs for museums and cultural institutions around the country and Europe. The partners in the Collective have collaborated on a variety of exhibits over the past decade, including a recent exhibit Woody Guthrie: People Are the Song debuting in 2022 at the Morgan Library in New York City. As partners in the Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame, the Museum Collective has curated and installed multiple exhibits within the historic Wang Theatre, featuring a variety of artists.