Jazz (2001)

TV Mini-Series  |   |  Documentary, History, Music
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 1,251 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 14 critic

A survey of the musical form's history and major talents.

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Nominated for 5 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Series cast summary:
 Narrator (10 episodes, 2001)


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 <kchishol@home.com>

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Release Date:

8 January 2001 (USA)  »

Box Office


$13,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(10 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Referenced in Girls: Free Snacks (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

The Best Jazz 101 since Professors' Roach & Marsalis
10 February 2001 | by (Hillsboro, OR) – See all my reviews

I'm not a member of the "Let's Hate Ken Burns" club. I'm a fan. As a fan, I've seen nearly everything that Burns & Buddy Squires have done together since co-founding Florentine Films, along with Roger Sherman & Lawrence Hott, in the late 70's. And I am *especially a fan* since I am offspring of a bonefide jazz musician who made his living in America & Europe in the 40's, 50's, & 60's, until his untimely death in the 70's.

This is Burns & Squires masterpiece in the American Trilogy. They got it right. Burns & Squires, moved through the significant contributors & innovators in Jazz from it's New Orleans Dixie Land inception through the major periods including: Swing, Bop, Hard Bop, Cool, Avant Guard, Free, & Post Modernism.

There are a lot of folks out there quick to ridicule Burns & Squires' brilliant effort. I am not one of them. And I would venture to guess, that not many of them "lived the life".

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