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...
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This series explores the history of the major American musical form. We track its development in African American culture, its rise to prominence with its golden age of popularity spanning from the 1920's to the mid 1940's both in its original form and in Swing through its popular decline and the rise of vital new sub-genres into the present day. Along the way, we learn of the lives and work of major contributors to the form such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Charlie "Bird" Parker and many others who helped form Jazz into the vibrant musical form it is. Moreover, we see how the music reflected the political and social issues of the African American community over the course of the form's history.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
I enjoyed watching "Jazz" but as the show progressed I enjoyed it less and less. Much of it is because I simply like the older jazz and swing music and didn't enjoy the more modern free-form style of jazz. Much of it is also because the more I watched the show the more I noticed a few biases. EVERY EPISODE MENTIONED LOUIS ARMSTRONG. While he was a jazz great, it was obvious that Ken Burns REALLY adores Louis Armstrong and I wish he'd just made a show about him! He also strongly loves Duke Ellington. But he also inexplicably skips over some jazz or swing musicians who deserved mentioned--in particular Cab Calloway. He only mentions him BRIEFLY twice--and never positively or in any depth at all. The same could be said for Glenn Miller when the shows were about swing--it wasn't very complementary and was VERY brief (never even mentioning his premature death). This makes me wonder about what I watched--was it really the comprehensive history of jazz or just a particular and biased view? Still, despite this, the shows are well made, have some great music and did get me to appreciate and enjoy jazz and especially swing much more than I had. Worth seeing but I really would like to see some alternate view of the history of jazz, as it just felt like I was missing something.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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