British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Jazz - A Film by Ken Burns (3 Vols)

Synopsis
A comprehensive history of jazz, from its roots in the early 19th century to today. Features hundreds of rare and classic recordings and live performances from a century of jazz music, supported by interviews and many rare film clips and still photographs. Made over 6 years, it includes 497 pieces of music.
1: Jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and a host of jazz players and experts chart how jazz was born of myriad influences and cultures in the back streets of New Orleans in the late 19th and early 20th century. As the first jazz record goes on sale in 1917, jazz becomes the soundtrack to the modern age. The next section focuses on Chicago and New York, and on two artists whose careers were to span three-quarters of a century - Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. Also the stories of Bessie Smith, Bix Beiderbecke, Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. Goes on to look at the Depression era, with Duke Ellington revolutionising popular song, and Chick Webb pioneering his big-band sound with a new dance, the Lindy Hop.
2: The truly great musicians of the 1930s, an era which saw unprecedented enthusiasmm for jazz in America as the nation struggled with poverty and suffering of the Great Depression. Louis Armstrong was revolutionizing the art of American popular song on Broadway, while Chick Webb, Fats Waller, Art Tatum and Duke Ellington were all taking jazz in exciting new directions. Female artists such as Bessie Smith and Ella Fitzgerald brought a new dimension, while Tommy Dorsey, Jimmie Lunceford, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman and Count Basie ushered in the ‘Swing era’ on the radio.
3: Covers the period 1940 to the mid 1950s. When America entered World War 2, bandleaders like Glen Miller and Artie Shaw enlisted and took their swing to the troops overseas. Form many black Americans, the cruel irony of the situation was evident - they wer fighting abroad for liberties denied them at home. Duke Ellington epoitomised their plight in his tone poem’Black, brown and beige’. Jazz reinvents itself again as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gilespie unleash be-bop, and with Louis Armstrong’s influence, jazz becomes rhythm and blues.
4: Traces the evolution of jazz from the mid-1950s to the present day. New virtuosos emerged to push the limits of be-bop - Sonny Rollins, Sarah Vaughan and Art Blakey. With the sixties came the pioneering saxophonists John Coltrane and Ornete Coleman, later to be followed by a new generation of musicians, led by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.
The DVD also contains a collector’s booklet featuring rare phgotographs, an interview with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, and background information on the series.
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Medium
Video; Videocassette. VHS. b&w/col. 202, 175, 175, 175 min. Digital versatile disc. VHS. b&w/col. 202, 175, 175, 175 min.
Year of production
2001
Availability
Sale; 2001 DVD sale: £79.99 (full set) 2001 video sale: £16.99 (inclusive) each volume
Notes
Broadcast in 12 weekly parts on BBC2, beginning 9/6/01.
Subjects
Music
Keywords
black communities; jazz; United States of America

Credits

Director
Ken Burns
Contributor
Keith David

Distribution Formats

Type
DVD

Sections

Title
Jazz: the gift
Synopsis
1: Jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and a host of jazz players and experts chart how jazz was born of myriad influences and cultures in the back streets of New Orleans in the late 19th and early 20th century. As the first jazz record goes on sale in 1917, j

Title
Jazz: pure pleasure
Synopsis
2: The truly great musicians of the 1930s, an era which saw unprecedented enthusiasmm for jazz in America as the nation struggled with poverty and suffering of the Great Depression. Louis Armstrong was revolutionizing the art of American popular song on B

Title
Jazz: dedicated to chaos
Synopsis
3: Covers the period 1940 to the mid 1950s. When America entered World War 2, bandleaders like Glen Miller and Artie Shaw enlisted and took their swing to the troops overseas. Form many black Americans, the cruel irony of the situation was evident - they

Title
Jazz; a masterpiece at midnight
Synopsis
4: Traces the evolution of jazz from the mid-1950s to the present day. New virtuosos emerged to push the limits of be-bop - Sonny Rollins, Sarah Vaughan and Art Blakey. With the sixties came the pioneering saxophonists John Coltrane and Ornete Coleman, l

Distributor

Name

Simply Media

Contact
Laura Smith
Email
info@simplymedia.tv
Web
http://www.simplymedia.tv/ External site opens in new window
Phone
0203 542 3722
Address
Highlight House
57 Margaret Street
London W1W 8SJ
Notes
Formerly known as DD Home Entertainment or DDHE

Record Stats

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