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Arts Documentary hosted by Keith David and Ken Burns, published by PBS in 2001 - English narration

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Image: Jazz-Cover.jpg

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A virtuoso performance by acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns, JAZZ celebrates the music of America - from blues and ragtime to swing, bebop and fusion. With JAZZ, Ken Burns reaches the high note of his epic trilogy on American life that began with THE CIVIL WAR and continued with BASEBALL. The series was created from over 500 musical selections, 75 interviews, 2400 stills and more than 2000 film clips. Four extras are included: a Making Of Jazz documentary and three historic music videos. Release date - Oct 6, 2001 Number of DVDs - 10 Feature Runtime - ~19 hours Directed by Ken Burns Written by Geoffrey C. Ward Narrated by Keith David

[edit] Gumbo

Beginnings to 1917 - "Jazz music objectifies America," the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis says at the beginning of this episode. "It is an art form that can give us a painless way of understanding ourselves." Jazz is born in New Orleans during the 1890s, at the height of the Jim Crow era. It is a creation of the African-American community but incorporates every kind of music heard in the streets of the country's most cosmopolitan city, from Caribbean dances and Italian opera to blues, ragtime, military marches, and the call and response of the Baptist church. Its first great practitioners are the half-mad cornetist Buddy Bolden, who may be the first man ever to play jazz; Jelly Roll Morton, who falsely claimed to have invented it and really is the first to write the music down; and Sidney Bechet, whose fiery clarinet sound mirrors his own explosive personality. Few people beyond its birthplace have a chance to hear jazz until 1917, when a group of white musicians - the Original Dixieland Jazz Band - make the first recording. It outsells every other record made up to the time, and jazz becomes a national craze.
Runtime 1:27

[edit] The Gift

1917-1924 - Flappers, Prohibition, speakeasies, and the booming stock market - the uproarious "Jazz Age" - sets the tone for this episode, and the story of jazz becomes the story of two great cities, Chicago and New York, and of two extraordinary artists whose lives and music span almost three-quarters of a century - Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Armstrong, a fatherless waif brought up on the mean streets of New Orleans, develops what he calls his "gift" - his unparalleled genius as a trumpet player - and in 1922 makes his way to Chicago, where he gathers around him a whole generation of worshipful musicians, white as well as black. Ellington, brought up in middle-class comfort and refinement in Washington DC, by parents who believe him "blessed" moves to Harlem, forms his own band, and begins to play a new kind of enthralling blues-drenched music for dancing. Meanwhile, the band leader Paul Whiteman tries to make jazz more like symphonic music - "to make a lady out of jazz" - and Fletcher Henderson play soft, sweet music for white dancers only at the Roseland Ballroom. Then, in 1924, Louis Armstrong comes to New York to join the Henderson band and shows the whole world how to swing.
Runtime 1:46

[edit] Our Language

1924-1928 - As the stock market soars to record heights, jazz is played in dance halls and speakeasies everywhere. The music now places more emphasis on the innovations of supremely gifted individuals; for the first time, improvising soloists and singers take center stage. Bessie Smith helps make an industry out of the blues - and faces down the Ku Klux Klan. Bix Beiderbecke, a brilliant cornetist from the American heartland, demonstrates that white musicians, too, can make important contributions to jazz - only to destroy himself with alcohol at the age of 28. Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw - each the gifted son of Jewish immigrants - find in jazz a way out of the ghetto. Sidney Bechet takes his music and his combative personality to Europe. Duke Ellington gets the break of a lifetime when his band is hired by the most celebrated of all Harlem night spots, the gangster-owned, whites-only Cotton Club, and begins to broadcast his distinctive music all across the country. Meanwhile, Louis Armstrong returns to Chicago, and in 1928, with the pianist Earl Hines, records his first great masterpiece, "West End Blues," which establishes jazz as an expressive art comparable to any other, and proves that Armstrong is the music's presiding genius, what the Wright Brothers are to travel and Albert Einstein is to science.
Runtime 1:51

[edit] The True Welcome

1929-1935 - As this episode begins, America finds itself mired in the Great Depression, the worst crisis since the Civil War. With the economy in tatters, jazz is called upon to lift the spirits of a frightened country. In Harlem, as dancers Frankie Manning and Norma Miller recall, people are finding solace in a new dance, the Lindy Hop, and in the big band music played by Chick Webb and Fletcher Henderson. At the same time the pianists Fats Waller and Art Tatum spread their own very different brands of musical joy. Both Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington are prospering in spite of the Depression: Armstrong defies one of America's most most-feared gangsters and revolutionizes American singing, just as he has already transformed instrumental playing, while Ellington's sophisticated music and elegant personal style help change the perceptions - and expectations - of an entire race. Meanwhile, Benny Goodman forms a big band of his own, broadcasting hot swinging music every Saturday night on the "Let's Dance" radio show. When the show is canceled, Goodman, struggling to hold his band together, embarks on a disastrous cross-country tour in the summer of 1935. But at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles young people go wild when Goodman's men begin to play the jazz they love - and the Swing Era is born.
Runtime 1:59

[edit] Swing: Pure Pleasure

1935-1937 - In the mid-1930s, as the Great Depression stubbornly refuses to lift, jazz comes as close as it has ever come to being America's popular music. It has a new name - Swing - and for the first time musicians become matinee idols. Benny Goodman finds himself hailed as the "Kind of Swing," but he has a host of rivals, among them Tommy Dorsey, Jimmie Lunceford, Glen Miller, and Artie Shaw. Louis Armstrong heads a big band of his own. Duke Ellington continues his own independent course. Billie Holiday emerges from a childhood filled with tragedy to make her first joyous recordings and begin her career as the greatest of all female jazz singers. Benny Goodman demonstrates that in a rigidly segregated country there is still room in jazz for great black and white musicians to play side by side onstage. The episode's finale takes place on May 11, 1937, when 4000 people gather at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem to witness what is billed as "The Music Battle of the Century." a showdown between Goodman and the indefatigable Chick Webb, a man who hates to lose.
Runtime 1:27

[edit] Swing: The Velocity of Celebration

1937-1939 - In the late 1930s, swing is still a national craze that keeps on growing despite the Depression, although commerce sometimes leads to compromise and the individual expression at the heart of jazz is too often kept under wraps. But in the middle of the country - in black dance halls, roadhouses and juke joints - a new kind of music has been incubating. Pulsing, stomping and suffused with the blues, it is played by men and women seasoned in cutting contests that sometimes go on all night. It will fall to Count Basie and Lester Young to bring its healing power to the rest of the country. Meanwhile, Louis Armstrong finds true love. Benny Goodman takes his hot sound to Carnegie Hall and then is forced to rebuild the most popular band in America. And Chick Webb, in a bid to reach a national audience, takes a chance on an "ugly duckling," a teen-aged singer named Ella Fitzgerald - and before tragedy strikes achieves all that he has hoped for. Billie Holiday finds a musical soul mate, travels with two of the best bands in the country, and then expresses her pain and indignation at racism in America in one anguished song, "Strange Fruit." In 1939 Coleman Hawkins records a familiar tune in a way so daring and so beautiful that it eventually helps lead to a musical revolution in jazz, while Duke Ellington undertakes a triumphal tour of Europe and sees for himself that World War II is only weeks away.
Runtime 1:42

[edit] Dedicated to Chaos

1940-1945 - When America enters World War II in 1941, jazz music goes to war, too. Swing becomes a symbol of democracy at home and band leaders Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw enlist and take their music to the men and women of the armed forces overseas. In nazi-occupied Europe, where the gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt develops his own distinctive way of playing the music, jazz becomes a symbol of freedom and the hope of liberation. In New York, the heart of jazz has moved from Harlem to 52nd Street - where Billie Holiday reigns as unofficial queen despite a growing addiction to narcotics. Duke Ellington leads what some believe to have been the greatest of all his bands - helped now by the gifted young arranger, Billy Strayhorn - and brings his music to ever-greater heights. Meanwhile, underground and after-hours, a small band of gifted musicians led by the trumpet virtuoso Dizzy Gillespie and alto saxophonist Charlie Parker begin to develop a new way of playing - fast, intricate, and infinitely demanding for musicians and listeners alike. Due to a recording ban it goes largely unheard until November of 1945, when Parker and Gillespie are finally able to go into the recoding studio together. With the release of "Koko," the new music called bebop begins to spread, altering the course of jazz forever.
Runtime 1:56

[edit] Risk

1945-1955 - Despite the escalation of the Cold War and the growing threat of nuclear annihilation, America achieves a level of growth and prosperity unimaginable just a few years earlier. The nation's musical tastes are changing too, as young people turn to sentimental singers and rhythm and blues. One by one, the big bands leave the road, but Duke Ellington stubbornly keeps his band together, while Louis Armstrong puts together a small group, the "All-Stars," and spreads his fame around the globe. Impresario Norman Granz makes a success of his Jazz at the Philharmonic Tours, insisting on equal treatment for every member of his integrated troupes. Meanwhile, bebop musicians Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker are creating some of the most thrilling and inventive jazz ever played, but audiences drift away from their demanding music. A devastating narcotics plague sweeps through the jazz community, ruining lives and changing the dynamics of performance. Charlie Parker never overcomes his own addiction, destroying himself at the age of 34. And a number of gifted musicians - including Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan and John Lewis - find new ways to bring new audiences to jazz.
Runtime 2:02

[edit] The Adventure

1956-1960 - Post-war prosperity continues but beneath its placid surface there is a growing demand for civil rights. Louis Armstrong decides to risk his career by speaking out against southern defiance of the Constitution. Miles Davis, having overcome the narcotics addiction that has destroyed so many other musician's careers, signs with Columbia Records, makes a series of legendary albums and becomes an icon for an entire generation of Americans. The gifted clean-living trumpeteer Clifford Brown, a role model for younger musicians, is killed in a car accident, while Duke Ellington, struggling now to stay on the road, experiences a rebirth of his career after a triumphant appearance at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival. Drummer Art Blakey forms his Jazz Messengers, which for more than 40 years will provide a proving ground for young musicians. Two legendary figures from the 30s - Billie Holiday and Lester Young - pass on not long after making an extraordinary appearance together on television. Meanwhile, three adventurous saxophone masters also make their debut - Sonny Rollins, John Coletrane, and Ornette Coleman, whose bold "free" playing helps to launch a new jazz movement - the avant-garde.
Runtime 1:52

[edit] A Masterpiece by Midnight

1961-Present - By the early 1960s, jazz is in trouble. Young people now overwhelmingly prefer rock 'n' roll - though Louis Armstrong manages to outsell the Beatles with "Hello Dolly" and Stan Getz helps boost a craze for Bossa Nova. Desperate for work, some musicians go into exile overseas, including the tenor saxophone master Dexter Gordon. Critics divide the music into antagonistic schools - Dixie Land, swing, bebop, hard bop, modal, Free, avant-garde, and more. During the Civil Rights struggle, some artists mix music with social protest, including Max Roach, Charles Mingus, Archie Schepp, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. John Coltrane dies young, and Miles Davis decides that if he cannot outsell rock musicians he should join forces with them, creating the enormously popular music called Fusion. Both Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington pass away during the 1970s, and to some, jazz seems to die with them. But just when things seem most desperate, Dexter Gordon returns from Europe, and proves that there is still an audience for mainstream jazz, and a new generation of musicians, led by the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, emerges, eager to express themselves within the music's great traditions. The musical journey that began in the dance halls and saloons and street parades of New Orleans in the early years of the 20th Century continues - and shows no sign of slowing down. As it enters its second century, jazz is still alive, still changing and still swinging.
Runtime 1:49

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[edit] Technical Specs

  • Video Codec : x264 CABAC
  • Video Bitrate : 1820 Kbps
  • Video Resolution : 640 x 480
  • Video Aspect Ratio : 4:3
  • Video Frame Rate : 23.976 fps
  • Quality Factor : 0.247 b/px
  • Audio : English
  • Audio Codec : Nero AAC
  • Audio Channels : 2
  • Audio Bitrate : 192 kb/s @ 48KHz CBR
  • Subtitles : none
  • Series Total Runtime : 18hr 16min 21sec
  • Runtime Per Part : 87min to 122min
  • Part Size : 1.2GiB to 1.7GiB
  • Number of Parts : 10 + 4 Extras
  • Encoded by : DocSocrates

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