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"Jazz" Risk: 1945-1955 (2001)

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The rise of demons in jazz.

8/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
28 February 2015

This installment of "Jazz" concerns the post-war jazz period. Most of the show seems to always work its way back to Charlie Parker and his influence. The show starts with him and throughout the entire show you keep learning about him--though he only lived to 34. Additionally, the show seemed to focus a lot on his legacy--a legacy of self- destruction with quite a few insane musicians taking Parker's lead as they began taking heroin en masse! Quite a few died or had their careers impacted (such as Miles Davis) because of this.

In addition to this, the show focuses on Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck (who seemed amazingly normal), Louis Armstrong (who inexplicably has been in every episode), beatniks, Louis Jordan, Ella Fitzgerald. Oddly, although swing/big band music had been huge in the last three episodes, it was barely mentioned in this episode. Was it dead or was it still popular?

This is a great episode if you love modern jazz. If you find the music discordant, then it and the music are a bit less satisfying. Worth seeing but it felt like too much energy was spent on Parker. An important figure in music but a man come and gone so quickly I cannot imagine him being THE force in jazz during this period-- especially since he was so incapacitated by his drug use during much of this time.

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