Construction of the foundations for the ramp leading to Alfred-Lion-Steg, April 2012
Photo Martin Schwarz
Hank Mobley and Alfred Lion (right) during the recording of “Soul Station” on 7 February 1960 in Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
Photo Francis Wolff, Mosaic Images LLC
Alfred-Lion-Steg was built within the framework of the programme “Urban Development” as a bridge for pedestrians and bicycle riders over the train tracks. It is part of the East-West green corridor that connects the Tempelhof garden city with the Schöneberger Insel. Inaugurated in 2012, the footbridge is named after the American music producer Alfred Lion. Together with Berlin-born Francis Wolff, he founded the famous record label Blue Note Records. Its logo was its manifesto: “The Fines in Jazz since 1939”.
There was controversy about the name of the bridge in the assembly of the Tempelhof-Schöneberg district officials. The discussion centred around the question of whether the bridge should rather be named after the librarian and anti-Nazi resistance fighter Hertha Block. In the end the assembly voted to give her name to the newly created connecting lane through Naumannpark ending at Gontermannstrasse.
Alfred Lion was born on 21 April 1908 under the name Alfred Wladislaus Lion in Wielandstrasse 22 in Berlin-Friedenau and grew up near Lützowplatz. Even as a child he was enthralled with music. He first heard a Dixieland band around 1920, which fuelled his passion for jazz.
Lion’s mother was Jewish. When the Nazis took power in 1933, Alfred fled with her to Chile. From there he emigrated to the USA and applied for US citizenship. In January 1939 Lion and his friend Francis Wolff founded the jazz label Blue Note Records.
Although Lion did not play an instrument himself, he had an unerring instinct for musical quality and as a music producer became a key player in the American jazz scene. His credo was “It must swing”.