The author of last year’s graphic novel about Charlie Parker has returned with another jazz-inspired work in collaboration with Blue Note Records.
Dave Chisholm’s new book Enter the Blue, published by Z2 Comics, is a fictional story that pays tribute to the legendary record label.
The book follows the character of Jessie Choi, a young jazz trumpeter who has since stopped performing. After her mentor Jimmy Hightower collapses at a gig and loses consciousness, Jessie finds herself reluctantly pulled back into the jazz scene she abandoned years earlier. As Jessie investigates Jimmy’s comatose state, she wonders if Jimmy is somehow trapped in a mysterious meeting place known as The Blue, where ghosts from the storied history of jazz spring to life for those courageous enough to enter. In her search to save her teacher, Jessie embarks on a journey through a secret history of the origins and legacy of Blue Note Records, its two founders, and the label’s long-lasting impact on the history of jazz.
“As someone who has performed and obsessed over this music some folks call ‘jazz’ for most of my life, I’ve always loved Blue Note Records,” Chisolm said in a press release. “The incredible performances, the amazing sounds, the impeccable graphic design — every new Blue Note album that found its way into my life guaranteed a great listen. The history of Blue Note in so many ways follows the history of this music. From Sidney Bechet to Miles and Coltrane, to Ornette and Herbie, to present-day giants like Ambrose Akinmusire — virtually every single major figure in this history has recorded for them in some way or another.”
Chisholm was approached by Blue Note, who wanted to tell a different kind of history of the storied record label rather than a straight-ahead nonfiction account of its story.
“With a musician’s sensibility and a poet’s hand, Dan Chisholm has crafted a rare peek behind the curtain into the inner workings of jazz,” said Don Was, president of Blue Note Records. “Enter the Blue eloquently explains the fearless creativity, innovative spirit, and artistic depth that has characterized the Blue Note tradition since 1939. We’re honoured to participate with Z2 and Dan in this awesome undertaking.”
Chisholm is an Eisner Award-nominated cartoonist who previously worked with Z2 Comics on last year’s graphic novel Chasin’ the Bird: Charlie Parker in California. Named after Parker’s 1947 standard, the book tells the story of his time in Los Angeles starting in December of 1945, when he and Dizzy Gillespie brought the bebop sound to the West Coast for a two-month residency at Billy Berg’s Hollywood jazz club.
Enter the Blue will be published in hardcover and paperback editions in January of 2022. The book will also be available in a deluxe hardcover edition that includes an exclusive vinyl LP.