Ken Burns: JazzClosed Captioning
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The story, sound, and soul of a nation come together in the most American of art forms: Jazz. Ken Burns celebrates the music's soaring achievements, from its origins in blues and ragtime through swing, bebop, and fusion. Six years in the making, this "soundbreaking" series blends 75 interviews with major artists, such as Wynton Marsalis and Dave Brubeck, and critics; more than 500 pieces of music; 2,400 still photographs; and 2,000 rare and archival film clips including performances by Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and many more.
|1||Closed CaptioningVideoGumbo (Beginnings to 1917)||Jazz begins in New Orleans, 19th century America's most cosmopolitan city, where the sound of marching bands, Italian opera, Caribbean rhythms, and minstrel shows fills the streets with a richly diverse musical culture. In the 1890s, African-American musicians such as Jelly Roll Morton, Buddy Bolden and Sydney Bichet create a new music out of these ingredients. Soon after the start of the new century, people are calling it jazz.||1:28:35||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|2||Closed CaptioningVideoThe Gift (1917 - 1924)||Speakeasies, flappers, and easy money - it's the Jazz Age, when the story of jazz becomes a tale of two great cities, Chicago and New York, and of two extraordinary artists whose lives and music will span almost three-quarters of a century - Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Armstrong grew up on the mean streets of New Orleans and moved to Chicago in 1922, inspiring a new generation of musicians. Meanwhile, Ellington outgrows the society music he learned to play in Washington D.C., and heads to Harlem.||1:48:14||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|3||Closed CaptioningVideoOur Language (1924 - 1929)||In the 1920s, jazz is everywhere, and for the first time soloists and singers take center stage. We meet Bessie Smith, Empress of the Blues; Bix Beiderbecke, the first great white jazz star; and Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, for whom jazz offers a chance to escape the ghetto and achieve their dreams. Duke Ellington appears at the Cotton Club and Louis Armstrong performs his masterpiece, "West End Blues."||1:52:14||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|4||Closed CaptioningVideoThe True Welcome (1929 - 1934)||In 1929 as the Great Depression begins, New York is now America's jazz capital. On Broadway, Louis Armstrong revolutionizes the art of American popular song. In Harlem, Chick Webb pioneers his own big-band sound and in the city's clubs, pianists Fats Waller and Art Tatum dazzle audiences. But it is Duke Ellington who takes jazz "beyond category," composing hit tunes that has critics comparing him to Stravinsky.||2:01:06||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|5||Closed CaptioningVideoSwing: Pure Pleasure (1935 - 1937)||As the Great Depression drags on, jazz comes as close as it has ever come to being America's popular music. It has a new name, Swing, and for millions of young fans, it will be the defining music of their generation. Benny Goodman is hailed as the "King of Swing" and Billie Holiday begins her career as the greatest of all female jazz singers.||1:28:55||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|6||Closed CaptioningVideoSwing: The Velocity of Celebration (1937 - 1939)||As the 1930's come to a close, Swing-mania is still going strong, but some fans are saying success has made the music too predictable. Count Basie and the Kansas City sound reignite the spirit of swing. By the decade's end, Duke Ellington has been hailed as a hero in Europe, amid anxious preparations for war. And weeks after that war begins, Coleman Hawkins startles the world with a glimpse of what jazz will become, improvising a new music on the old standard, "Body and Soul."||1:43:42||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|7||Closed CaptioningVideoDedicated to Chaos (1940 - 1945)||When America enters World War II, jazz is part of the arsenal. Bandleaders like Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw enlist, taking their swing to the troops overseas. Many black Americans, segregated at home and in uniform, find themselves fighting for liberties their own country denies them. In a Harlem club called Minton's Playhouse, a small band of young musicians, led by Dizzy Gillespie and the saxophonist Charlie Parker, has discovered a new way of playing - fast, intricate, exhilarating, and sometimes chaotic. The sound will soon be called "bebop" and once Americans hear it, jazz will never be the same.||1:57:51||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|8||Closed CaptioningVideoRisk (1945 - 1955)||The postwar years bring prosperity, but the Cold War threat makes these anxious years as well. In jazz, this underlying tension will be reflected in bebop, and in the troubled life of it's biggest star, Charlie Parker. Dizzy Gillespie, tries to popularize the new sound by adding showmanship and Latin rhythms, while pianist Thelonius Monk infuses it with his eccentric personality to create a music all his own. Dave Brubeck mixes jazz with classical music to produce a million-seller LP. But one man remains determined to give jazz popular appeal on his own terms, the trumpet player Miles Davis.||2:04:16||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|9||Closed CaptioningVideoThe Adventure (1955-1960)||For jazz, the late 1950s is a period of transition when old stars like Billie Holiday and Lester Young will burn out while young talents arise to take the music in new directions. New virtuosos push the limits of bebop: saxophone colossus Sonny Rollins; jazz diva Sarah Vaughan; and the drummer Art Blakey. But the leading light of the era is Miles Davis whose lush recordings expand the jazz audience; and a cultural icon whose tough-guy charisma comes to define what's hip. As the turbulent Sixties arrive, two saxophonists take jazz into uncharted terrain. John Coltrane explodes the pop tune My Favorite Things, while Ornette Coleman challenges all conventions with a sound he calls "free jazz."||1:53:52||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|10||Closed CaptioningVideoA Masterpiece By Midnight (1961 - PRESENT)||During the Sixties, jazz is in trouble. Though Louis Armstrong briefly outsells the Beatles with "Hello Dolly," most jazz musicians are desperate for work and many head for Europe. In the 1970s, jazz loses the exuberant genius of Louis Armstrong and the transcendent artistry of Duke Ellington, Their passing seems to mark the end of the music itself. But in 1976, when Dexter Gordon returns from Europe for a triumphant comeback, jazz has a homecoming, too. A new generation emerges, led by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis - schooled in the music's traditions, skilled in the art of improvisation, and aflame with ideas. The musical journey that began in New Orleans at the start of the 20th century continues. As it enters its second century, jazz is still brand new every night, still vibrant, still evolving, and still swinging.||1:50:29||$4.99||View in iTunes|
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Not complete, but very good
Despite the oft-repeated criticisms of this work - namely that it shortchanges jazz made after 1961 - it is still a terrific piece that for many will succeed at renewing or creating interest in the genre. Like many people my age (48) my exposure to jazz was initially in the late 1960s and early 70s. The extended improvisations I heard made little sense to my young pop-trained ears, and I stayed with rock, folk and classical music. It wasn't until my 20's that I heard older jazz and the picture began to come together and make sense. I needed to understand how something like "Body and Soul" was first conceived in order to appreciate all the variations of subsequent artists. Ken Burn's work succeeds well by this measure. It demystifies a genre that for too many seems unfriendly, difficult and impenetrable - which is why many people will listen to Kenny G instead of Coltrane. If this film fails to cover those later jazz artists, at least it paves the way in the minds of those who watch and listen. And for that reason I give it a solid "thumbs up".
I was planning on buying the complete series for use in my teaching my Jazz Appreciation class as the DVD takes forever to use in the classroom. BUT, there are no chapters in the iTunes version like there are on the DVD. It would have been great to have chapters so that people (esp. jazz educators) could jump from one to the other within the file. This COULD have been a great classroom resource! I agree with everything that has been said previously about the previews. This will not help sales of this fantastic series at all.
This is a GREAT series !!!
If you like Ken Burns documentaries you will like and even may love this series. It give a "historical" perspective on Jazz from it's birth to where it is today. This a Jazz 101 series, it is about breadth not depth. (I agree with another commentor - you will know the importance of LOUIS ARMSTRONG - he is a pillar) It's too bad the previews do not give a better favor of what the series is like (it seems the low rated comments are more about the preview, than the series). I rented it from my local library - watched entire series in one "long" sitting. I liked it so much I am going to buy it from iTunes. As for Jazz jocks in this threads - it would be helpful for them to include some better DVD on Jazz (especially from the 50s and 60s) - this Ken Burn's Jazz series got me wanting more.