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>
Don't bother with the U.K. version (12 hours) buy the USA version (19.5 hours) it contains more and can usually be found at lower cost.
Covers the birth of jazz, swing era, move to bebop, free modal very well, but there is only scant coverage of more modern moves in the field of jazz.
Mr Burns has argued that he is more of an historian than a critic and as such he can only really deal with the phases of jazz that are from the past. This line of reasoning is, I think, not un-reasonable.
A nice touch on the DVDs is that when a piece of music is playing then pressing the "info" button on the DVD or its handset, brings up a screen about the music being played, e.g. title of music, who wrote it, who is playing, when was it recorded, etc.
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