8.6/10
1,745
25 user 14 critic
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5:15 | Trailer
A survey of the musical form's history and major talents.
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1  
2001  
Nominated for 5 Primetime Emmys. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Keith David ...  Narrator 10 episodes, 2001
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Storyline

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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Details

Official Sites:

PBS | WNET New York

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 January 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jazz See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(10 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Narrator Keith David also voiced the character of Dr. Facilier in The Princess and the Frog. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Pray Anything (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

A HISTORY OF LUIS ARMSTRONG
18 January 2001 | by bazdolSee all my reviews

In this limited and parochial view of jazz, Ken Burns spends about three hours obsessing over Luis Armstrong; although he is one of the great ones, do we have to fawn over him for that length of time? I agree with an amazon.com reviewer who wrote that for Burns, jazz=black. Even so, what attention is really given to Diz, Parker, and others of the bop era; to my mind, bop was a great revolution in jazz and deserves special treatment. Also, what about the Herman herds, Stan Kenton, and other great bands of the 40's and 50's? Where are the Jerry Mulligans, Stan Getz's, and Lee Konitz's? Also, Anita O'Day, June Christy, and Chris Conner

There was more to the white end of jazz than Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, and this really puzzles me: the Ted Heath orchestra.

To me, although Burns allegedly spent six years making this documentary series, he just shows how constrained is his vision.

Burns has shown this parochialism before though where in "Baseball" he concentrated on the NY Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Cities such as Chicago, for example, were barely mentioned by dredging up that old war horse the White Sox scandal. I don't think St. Louis was even considered

I give "Jazz' ** out of *****


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