Thursday, February 25, 2010

Jazz : A Film By Ken Burns

I have Jazz : A Film By Ken Burns and have watched the entire set over five times. Can't get enough of it. If ever you wanted to understand jazz, or perhaps gain an appreciation for artists you may have not particularly cared for in the past, I cannot recommend this set highly enough. Case in point - I was never a particularly big fan of Billie Holiday and rarely paid attention to Lester Young. However, after watching and listening to the synergy between the two I have become a big fan of any recording where the two are on the same song. I also have a deeper understanding and appreciation of Louis Armstrong's genius. There is the controversial Disc 10 that has earned the set scathing comments and reviews, but that - in my opinion - does not diminish the value of this treasure. The many hours of performance clips, narration and the social and historical context in which this music was born and grew up will give anyone a different perspective and appreciation of the music and those who created it.

A good critical review by Steven F. Pond will show the degree of controversy I discussed above. Another critique by Chris Kelsey and a truly tongue-in-cheek piece by Gerry Hemingway titled, Skunkbucket LeFunke.

If you are loath to spend the money on Jazz, but want to take a trip down memory lane, then these clips documenting Chicago Jazz (circa 1958) will provide a taste of history of a specific period and the musicians who made that period golden.

(this one says part 3, when it's really part 2)

(the real part 3)

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