8.6/10
1,856
26 user 14 critic
Trailer
5:15 | Trailer
A survey of the musical form's history and major talents.
Reviews

Episodes

Seasons


Years



1  
2001  
Nominated for 5 Primetime Emmys. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Series cast summary:
Keith David ...  Narrator 10 episodes, 2001
Wynton Marsalis ...  Self / ... 9 episodes, 2001
Gary Giddins Gary Giddins ...  Self / ... 8 episodes, 2001
Kevin Conway ...  Narrator 7 episodes, 2001
Delroy Lindo ...  Narrator 7 episodes, 2001
Philip Bosco 6 episodes, 2001
Gerald Early ...  Self / ... 6 episodes, 2001
Samuel L. Jackson ...  Narrator 6 episodes, 2001
Stanley Crouch ...  Self / ... 5 episodes, 2001
Margo Jefferson Margo Jefferson ...  Self / ... 5 episodes, 2001
Jimmy Rowles Jimmy Rowles ...  Self 5 episodes, 2001
Artie Shaw ...  Self / ... 5 episodes, 2001
Arvell Shaw ...  Self / ... 5 episodes, 2001
James Lincoln Collier James Lincoln Collier ...  Self / ... 4 episodes, 2001
Ann Duquesnay Ann Duquesnay 4 episodes, 2001
Branford Marsalis ...  Self 4 episodes, 2001
Jackie McLean ...  Self 4 episodes, 2001
Courtney B. Vance 4 episodes, 2001
George Wein George Wein ...  Self 4 episodes, 2001
Sidney Bechet Sidney Bechet ...  Self / ... 3 episodes, 2001
Lester Bowie Lester Bowie ...  Self / ... 3 episodes, 2001
Harry Connick Jr. 3 episodes, 2001
Michael Cuscuna Michael Cuscuna ...  Self 3 episodes, 2001
Ossie Davis ...  Self 3 episodes, 2001
Duke Ellington ...  Self / ... 7 episodes, 2001
Mercedes Ellington Mercedes Ellington ...  Self 3 episodes, 2001
Matt Glaser Matt Glaser ...  Self / ... 3 episodes, 2001
Lorraine Gordon Lorraine Gordon ...  Self 3 episodes, 2001
Milt Hinton Milt Hinton ...  Self / ... 3 episodes, 2001
Stan Levey Stan Levey ...  Self 3 episodes, 2001
James Maher James Maher ...  Self / ... 3 episodes, 2001
Phil Schaap Phil Schaap ...  Self / ... 3 episodes, 2001
Studs Terkel ...  Self - writer 3 episodes, 2001
Cassandra Wilson ...  Self 3 episodes, 2001
Louis Armstrong ...  Self 8 episodes, 2001
Vernel Bagneris 2 episodes, 2001
Bix Beiderbecke ...  Self / ... 2 episodes, 2001
Buddy Bolden Buddy Bolden ...  Self 2 episodes, 2001
Tom Bower 2 episodes, 2001
Matthew Broderick ...  Narrator 2 episodes, 2001
Avery Brooks 2 episodes, 2001
Dave Brubeck ...  Self 3 episodes, 2001
Hodding Carter III Hodding Carter III 2 episodes, 2001
Helen Oakley Dance Helen Oakley Dance ...  Self 2 episodes, 2001
Charles Durning 2 episodes, 2001
Harry Edison Harry Edison ...  Self 2 episodes, 2001
James Reese Europe James Reese Europe ...  Self 2 episodes, 2001
Benny Goodman ...  Self / ... 4 episodes, 2001
Fletcher Henderson ...  Self 2 episodes, 2001
Jon Hendricks ...  Self / ... 2 episodes, 2001
Earl 'Fatha' Hines ...  Self / ... 2 episodes, 2001
Billie Holiday ...  Self 5 episodes, 2001
Learn more

More Like This 

Mark Twain (TV Movie 2001)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A biographical film about the acclaimed American humourist and author.

Director: Ken Burns
Stars: Keith David, Kevin Conway, Philip Bosco
Baseball (1994–2010)
Documentary | History | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.2/10 X  

A documentary on the history of the sport with major topics including Afro-American players, player/team owner relations and the resilience of the game.

Stars: John Chancellor, Daniel Okrent, Ossie Davis
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A biography of the life and work of the American architect.

Directors: Ken Burns, Lynn Novick
Stars: Edward Herrmann, Philip Bosco, Julie Harris
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

The history of the U.S. National Parks system, including the initial ideas which led to the world's first national parks and the expansion of the system over 150 years.

Stars: Peter Coyote, William Cronon, Dayton Duncan
Documentary | Adventure | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

The story of the most important American exploration expedition in American history and the participants in it.

Director: Ken Burns
Stars: Hal Holbrook, Adam Arkin, John Logan Allen
Prohibition (2011)
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The story of the American activist struggle against the influence of alcohol, climaxing in the failed early 20th century nationwide era when it was banned.

Stars: Peter Coyote, Pete Hamill, Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Thomas Jefferson (TV Mini-Series 1997)
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A biographical film about The United States' influential and profoundly enigmatic Founding Father.

Stars: Ossie Davis, Joseph Ellis, John Hope Franklin
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

This documentary chronicles the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. The difficult construction process is described in interesting detail; later parts of the film interview ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Burns
Stars: Paul Roebling, Julie Harris, Arthur Miller
The War (2007)
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9/10 X  

A seven-part series focusing on the many ways in which the Second World War impacted the lives of American families.

Stars: Keith David, Katharine Phillips, Tom Hanks
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

For 50 years, radio dominated the airwaves as the first mass medium. Ken Burns examines the lives of three men who shared the responsibility for its invention and early success.

Director: Ken Burns
Stars: Jason Robards, Red Barber, Erik Barnouw
The Dust Bowl (TV Mini-Series 2012)
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A documentary about the 1930s drought of North American prairie farm land, and its consequences during the great depression.

Stars: Dorothy Williamson, Donald Worster, Timothy Egan
Country Music (2019)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

The story of the creation of modern Country music.

Stars: Peter Coyote, Marty Stuart, Brenda Lee
Edit

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Connections

Features Check and Double Check (1930) See more »

User Reviews

Starts With a Bang; Ends in a Whimper
3 February 2001 | by BB-15See all my reviews

The culture of the "People, all the People" has been Ken Burns' great theme. In the first two thirds of "Jazz" he eloquently presents these grand ideas. From Armstrong and Ellington to Billie Holiday and Benny Goodman we are swept along in a vibrant, multi-layered story of something special that would change the world.

But once the documentary reaches the 50's, the tale takes a radical turn. There is a lot of focus on drugs and broken lives. This may be important but these sad endings lead the film on a downward emotional spiral. (I understand why Spike Lee detests jazz musician's stories focusing on drugs.) But at least the music is good.

When the so called jazz music of the 60's and beyond is revealed, we see that the climax of this film is a betrayal of its beginning. The "People's music" has vanished. We see that "real" jazz is elitist and narrow and for the most part is a musical dead end.

We find that "real" jazz is played on acoustic instruments such as trumpets and saxophones. So, electric jazz guitarists are almost never mentioned as well as any electric keyboard players. And the only correct modern style comes straight from Be Bop. We hardly hear any Latin jazz or Fusion.

The great music promoter John Hammond once said that his most satisfying discovery was George Benson. Of course we never hear about Benson because he was popular and he plays electric guitar. No, instead the film's ending becomes an overblown promotion of Wynton Marsalis who since he acts as the film's "senior creative consultant" brings the great story down to an example of petty ego.

Overall "Jazz" has seven excellent episodes about a vital part of history and its effect on the world's music. Enjoy these and after that I would gently suggest to quit while you're ahead.


10 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 26 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

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 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(10 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed