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




Nominated for 5 Primetime Emmys. Another 2 wins & 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 <>

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Official Sites:





Release Date:

8 January 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Джаз  »

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?


Features Black and Tan (1929) See more »

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User Reviews

take a bow, Mr.Burns
20 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I've never been one to send in any type of critique or review to any type of website, but after viewing the Ken Burns "jazz" documentary, I knew this was a call to arms. I've never been so moved before by any film/doc etc.. through the brilliant use of historical footage and expert insight that dances along with the music of the day it's a perfect marriage of sound and vision. I was actually brought to tears of joy several times throughout the series. if anyone is even remotely interested in any type of American history/music of any kind or just a lover of great programming ,this is a must for all. A true American classic! not only did this series reconnect me with such intricate American heritage, but introduced me to a whole new world of exquisite, fascinating music that I immediately fell in love with. For this I am forever grateful to Mr. Burns. the only thing I'm not happy about is the fact that now I've been on a constant quest and spending spree of most of my weekly paycheck on a jazz cd purchasing frenzy!!! Ohh well , it's worth every penny ,keep up the superb work and now its time to venture into the civil war series.

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