Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns
The History of Jazz Music in America

PBS
PBS
Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns - The History of Jazz Music in America
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10 videos in this collection

Gumbo
Jazz is born in the unique musical and social cauldron of New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century, emerging from such genres as ragtime, marching bands, work songs,…
The Gift
During the tumultuous era known as the "Jazz Age," the rhythms and spirit of jazz music mirror the world that emerged in the wake of World War I. The program…
Our Language
Louis Armstrong arrives in New York from Chicago where, during a brief stay with the Fletcher Henderson band, he amazes his fellow musicians and teaches the city to swing. Follow…
The True Welcome
Amid the Depression, the Lindy Hop begins to catch on at dance halls. The reminiscences of two of Harlem's great dancers, Frankie Manning and Norma Miller, inform the episode. As…
Swing: Pure Pleasure
Big band jazz--swing--becomes the most popular music in America. Some fans, disturbed by its popularity, start a movement to embrace "traditional" jazz. In the western "territories," a blues-soaked big band…
Swing: The Velocity of Celebration
As the Great Depression deepens, jazz thrives. The saxophone emerges as an iconic instrument of the music and women musicians emerge on the jazz scene. Benny Goodman holds the first-ever…
Dedicated to Chaos
Young rebels take jazz in startling new directions, but their innovations are largely unnoticed amidst the war effort. In Europe, jazz is banned by the Nazis and embraced by their…
Risk
Jazz, the official symbol of American democracy abroad, splinters at home into different camps: white and black, cool and hot, East and West, traditional and modern. Miles Davis becomes the…
The Adventure
As rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll erode jazz' audience further, the music nonetheless enjoys a time of great creativity. Free-jazz challenges all the jazz conventions, provoking a debate…
A Masterpiece by Midnight
In the 1960s, jazz becomes divided into "schools"--Dixieland, swing, bop, hard bop, cool, modal, free, avant-garde. The question of what is jazz and what isn't rages, dividing audiences, dividing musicians,…

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