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Jazz: A Film By Ken Burns (Disc 3 of 10) (2000)
Director: Ken Burns
Category: Special Interest, Music, Documentary
Studio: Warner Bros.
1140 mins



A Ten Part Series by Acclaimed Filmmaker Ken Burns

Episode One: Gumbo - Jazz is born in New Orleans during the 1890's, 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.
Episode Two: The Gift - Flappers, Prohibition, speakeasies, and the booming stock market - the uproarious "Jazz Age" - sets the tone for this episode, as the story shifts to two great cities, Chicago and New York, and two great men - Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.
Episode Three: Our Language - As the stock market soars to record heights, the music now places more emphasis on the innovations of supremely gifted individuals; for the first time, improvising soloists and singers take center stage.
Episode Four: The True Welcome - As this episode begins, America finds itself mired in the Great Depression, the worst crisis since the Civil War.Jazz is called upon to lift the spirits of a frightened country.And in the Palomor 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.
Episode Five: Swing: Pure Pleasure - 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.
Episode Six: Swing: The Velocity of Celebration - In the late 1930's, 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.
Episode Seven: Dedicated to Chaos - When America enters World War II in 1941, jazz music goes to war, too.Swing becomes a symbol of democracy at home and bandleaders like Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw enlist and take their music to the men and women of the armed forces overseas.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.
Episode Eight: Risk - 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 world.
Episode Nine: The Adventure - 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.
Episode Ten: A Masterpiece by Midnight - By the early 1960's, 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.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.