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JAZZ-Ken Burns 10 part Series-2001

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catspaw49 07 Jan 01 - 11:53 PM
Chanteyranger 08 Jan 01 - 02:22 AM
Peter T. 08 Jan 01 - 10:50 AM
catspaw49 08 Jan 01 - 02:08 PM
Mark Clark 08 Jan 01 - 02:43 PM
Peter T. 08 Jan 01 - 03:34 PM
GUEST,Skylark 08 Jan 01 - 03:44 PM
Rick Fielding 09 Jan 01 - 10:23 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 09 Jan 01 - 10:47 AM
Steve Latimer 09 Jan 01 - 11:15 AM
Bsondahl 09 Jan 01 - 11:21 AM
catspaw49 09 Jan 01 - 11:23 AM
catspaw49 09 Jan 01 - 11:25 AM
Peter T. 09 Jan 01 - 11:47 AM
catspaw49 09 Jan 01 - 11:51 AM
Peter T. 09 Jan 01 - 12:15 PM
Rick Fielding 09 Jan 01 - 08:56 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 10 Jan 01 - 03:43 PM
Peter T. 10 Jan 01 - 04:01 PM
Art Thieme 10 Jan 01 - 04:22 PM
Peter T. 10 Jan 01 - 04:39 PM
Rick Fielding 11 Jan 01 - 11:55 AM
catspaw49 11 Jan 01 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,LEJ 11 Jan 01 - 12:21 PM
Rick Fielding 11 Jan 01 - 07:01 PM
pict 11 Jan 01 - 07:36 PM
pict 11 Jan 01 - 07:43 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 11 Jan 01 - 08:30 PM
catspaw49 15 Jan 01 - 08:16 PM
Chanteyranger 16 Jan 01 - 03:39 AM
SeanM 16 Jan 01 - 04:32 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 16 Jan 01 - 11:32 AM
Rick Fielding 16 Jan 01 - 11:46 AM
GUEST,jazzbo 17 Jan 01 - 02:45 AM
catspaw49 17 Jan 01 - 09:32 AM
Lonesome EJ 30 Jan 01 - 12:13 AM
Peter T. 30 Jan 01 - 09:40 AM
Rick Fielding 30 Jan 01 - 10:38 AM
Jim the Bart 30 Jan 01 - 10:38 AM
catspaw49 30 Jan 01 - 10:53 AM
catspaw49 31 Jan 01 - 11:03 PM
Lonesome EJ 01 Feb 01 - 12:13 AM
Peter T. 01 Feb 01 - 09:58 AM
Jim the Bart 01 Feb 01 - 09:58 AM
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Subject: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 11:53 PM

Ken Burns, from all reports, has done it again. If you've been following the PBS publicity you'll already know his latest series, which ought to appeal to a lot of 'Catters, starts this week.

The JAZZ series is done in typical Burns fashion and promises the same great coverage that the "Civil War" and "Baseball" did in the past. I remember thinking that the baseball thing would get kinda' dry with 18 parts, but I watched them all and wanted more. The CW series is already classic viewing. Music has always been an integral part of the Ken Burns productions and this one is ABOUT music so I'm expecting great things.

As a reed player, I was into jazz long before I came to folk and I still enjoy the genre. You can check out the PBS info for yourself......CLICK HERE

Spaw


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 08 Jan 01 - 02:22 AM

Thanks, Spaw. As a jazz lover and Burns docu fan, I'll be glued to this one. I understand he's honored in Scotland with a special evening devoted to him, every year in January. :-)

-chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Jan 01 - 10:50 AM

Boo, no Bill Evans, Ella a walk-on, Ornette Coleman beat up, where is Gunther Schuller (can't have him, might cause Gary Giddens to take a back seat) -- I could go on and on -- glory glory Wynton Marsalis, his truth goes marching on.....!!!!phooey.
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Jan 01 - 02:08 PM

Geeziz Peter........In a way, I can easily agree. On the other hand, I don't have the money or the anything to put one of these things together and if I did I'd probably be doing 30+ hours on the '55-'65 period alone! did they mention the MJQ? A passing nod to Brubeck perhaps? Yet the "cool" sound of that period was directly attributable to one friggin' alto player.

I'm never happy with everything they DON'T include, but I'm overjoyed that at least some are being covered and hence remembered. Burns' CW series left out so much material and yet it still managed to convey a history and time and a heritage to those who had nothing before. After watching 18 hours of "Baseball" I was overjoyed with what I saw and tremendously disappointed with the many players and things that were not there. And of course in the end it gets down th the point of view of Ken Burns.

Maybe it is playing to the lowest denominator, but at least its playing and is not more of the Barry Manilow or Snoop Doggy crap! Whethewr these things are done in one, ten, twenty, or a hundred hours, real enthusiasts will feel shortchanged and want something more or different. When was the last time anyone on the tube even mentioned Django? Maybe somebody gets a taste that breeds a curiosity. How bad is that?

Read some of those threads you started on folk lists and tell me we here at the 'Cat could put together a collaborative effort and tell the tale in, say, 15 or 20 hours. Never happen. At least it might trigger something in somebody and make them want more. Would we all agree on the material to include? No way! But at least it would be a taste. I mean when was the last time anyone mentioned Cisco on the tube?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Mark Clark
Date: 08 Jan 01 - 02:43 PM

I plan to catch as many of the episodes as I can but I think I'm just going to have to buy this one. Not only will I not have time to see them all, there are really too many episodes to bother trying to tape them.

Of course once this starts, I'll also have to go rent:

  • Bird
  • Kansas City
  • Round Midnight
  • Lady Sings The Blues
  • Pete Kelly's Blues
  • ...

Which jazz films will you be moved to (re)rent?

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Jan 01 - 03:34 PM

Cp, I am simply being a provocateur. I know you have no experience in this kind of thing, but.... Did I mention that as far as this series goes guitarists never existed? Django (God, a European) and Charlie Christian might as well never have plunked a note.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: GUEST,Skylark
Date: 08 Jan 01 - 03:44 PM

Hey, the guy said himself on CNN last night, his docu is not meant to be the last word, but is meant to be the first word---to get the conversation about jazz started. Man, I am for anything to get people into the stuff.


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 09 Jan 01 - 10:23 AM

I watched the first episode and enjoyed it. The thing that struck me though was that I've seen quite a few other jazz and blues documentaries that were equally or more satisfying. Virtually all of the photos, sound and film clips, and even most of the quotes have been seen and heard many (well, several) times before.

I've got no complaint with that, 'cause Burns has been adament about making a film "for people who don't know that much about jazz". That's fair.

I had the same reaction to the "Baseball" series. I'd read virtually all the books he had used for reference, and there was no new information...BUT, baseball and black music are two subjects that have fascinated me for a long long time, so naturally there were few surprises in his films for me. His treatment of the Civil War was similar (I imagine) but because I knew far less about the subject matter.... I was captivated from the first episode. My guess is that Civil War buffs (We have some here) probably found some parts of it obvious and wished that he'd covered other parts more thoroughly. I think it's simply how much you already know about the subject that makes his films interesting or not.

Film-making is another subject that interests me, but of which I know little....so, from that perspective, I love how he's put these things together. I haven't read how other filmakers rate his efforts.

I'm anxious to hear others' opinions on the first episode.

Rick


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 09 Jan 01 - 10:47 AM

Just found this thread after I started another. I think it is worth looking into content a bit. Yes Burns does a great job but how is it structured by his philosophy and by those who fund and support-consider these few points and let me know what you think Conrad

Just watched Ken Burn's Jazz last night- a few observations-

*The only folk in North America with an improvisational music style in the early-mid 19th century were Black African or otherwise negro folk.

True according to Burns (I guess he never read about the Irish immigrants when he studied New Orleans- large influx after Potato Famine 1840 s.)

*The European Ballad tradition contributed nothing to Jazz. Not structure not form not content not role in society

True according to Burns. He cites the Baptist hymn tradition contributing to Jazz as if the church music tradition came entirely on the slave ship.

*There was no white/european input into the "gumbo".

*The european bawdy tradition or in other words reisky (sp?) tradition of the brothels which clearly is around as early as the 16th century and also came on ships to the new world. Was not important. The bawdy style of the African ameican tradition was the first unique and only such tradition. I think the program said it was unique to black folk...

I do not discount the contribution of African Americans to the development of Jazz but please do not strain the white man or the european ingredients out of the gumbo.

It might of been interesting to have seen a discussion of the other european improvisational musical styles which were present in the big american cities, the hills and the countryside which showed how they contributed to Jazz or on the other hand failed to prosper. It is my opinion that european improvisational music/tradition not only formed a significant portion of the gumbo but that it also conditioned the reception of jazz styles of improvisation within the european/white population. Success of Jazz having not so much to do with its inherent goodness as with a longing for a lost improvisational medium.

Another point missed in the series seems to be the fact that jazz made for comercial consumption became much more codified and lacking in improvisation than the music of the back porches in the Delta.

Big band music imho seems to be quite stylized and perhaps became more so after the recording and publishing industries got hold of its packaging. The Glen Miller theme heard so often in the series is never played in any other way but the received standard lacking totally in improvisation. I find that Jazz was successful perhaps because it created a language of musical communication which was the very opposite of pure improvisation (championed so by Burns) into which even a layman could plug in. But is this feature of musical language uniquely african or does it derive some essential ingredients from the musical language and schemes of the european ballad and other traditions?

The same is true of Irish music. As you move from the kitchen of the tenement or farm house toward tin pan alley do you not find that packaging has virtually eliminated improvisation and as the piano music will oft tell you it provies the music as once "played by" another, rather than for further improvisation.

A few thoughts. What do you think? Is the gumbo of Jazz being blackwashed?

Conrad

Subject: Help

From: *#1 PEASANT*


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 09 Jan 01 - 11:15 AM

A bit of thread creep, but Rick, what is the name of the movie you mentioned on your show last night about Chet Baker? Sounds like a Jazz "Sid & Nancy"

I'd like to see it.

Steve


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Bsondahl
Date: 09 Jan 01 - 11:21 AM

I agree that some of Burns statements seemed at best clear overgeneralities, or at worst wrong. Also, while with his former documentaries music was just the frosting for his talk on the topic, here music is the topic, and as such he should at least have put subtitles with the artists and songs which are peppered through the production. He seemed much more caught up in talk about the subject than in the music itself. It was also disconcerting to hear Marsalis bip bip boop de booping while an overlaid songclip marched to a different drummer... Brad Sondahl http://pages.about.com/bsondahl


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Jan 01 - 11:23 AM

I'd echo Rick's comments as I already kinda' did in a previous posting. There's no way to cover this stuff in any reasonable time period. So far the show has been aa decent little primer of sorts and if the series continues as such, it will be much like the others.....a good primer leaving many wanting more and some of us saddened because it didn't cover enough.

So Conrad, did you miss the discussion of the population of New Orleans and the crossover influences? What about the part about the military bands? Were you watching when he discussed the makeup of the black population of New Orleans at the time and that a large portion were far removed from Africa, having ties to the Islands or Europe instead? Do you disagree that jazz has taken more from the black cultures of New Orleans than the white? Remember too that the first recording and hits were done by whites.

The Irish certainly have a tradition. The Spanish have a tradition. The Italians have a tradition. They and many others certainly influenced the advent of jazz in New Orleans, but the base was from the Blacks of the town and the "freedom" of the genre is certainly Black. I think Burns covered that acceptably. Would you argue that the free roaming improvisational style of New Orleans jazz is an Irish thing?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Jan 01 - 11:25 AM

BSondahl.......I agree....Way too much Wynton.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Peter T.
Date: 09 Jan 01 - 11:47 AM

I note that the New York Times reviewer of the series said that if he heard the use of gumbo as a metaphor once more he was going to throw up. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Jan 01 - 11:51 AM

........Almost missed the punctuation there PT on the throw up yours thing. Kinda' took on a new meaning for a second...........................

Spaw


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Peter T.
Date: 09 Jan 01 - 12:15 PM

Perhaps all this talk of you as the Spewmeister is going to your head. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 09 Jan 01 - 08:56 PM

Any possibility that you can hook this up with your thread Conrad, via blue clicky? There may not be a WHOLE lot of folks who watch this after the first episode and I think we can have an entertaining discussion for quite a while on it.

Got some more opinions, but epsisode two is on son I'll get back.

Rick


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 10 Jan 01 - 03:43 PM

Note: If you are interested in this try this thread which has much thought on the topic too! Click for more!

Conrad


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Peter T.
Date: 10 Jan 01 - 04:01 PM

I haven't seen the series, but it is worth saying that I have just run across the first set of the records now in music stores, and they look really terrific. I haven't bought any, so I can't say anything about the notes, but what can you say about a single disk that has Armstrong (Stardust and others), Beiderbecke's Singing the Blues, Miles Davis' "So What", etc.? I just about swooned in the store. Like a box of nuclear chocolates. The individal disks look pretty good too -- anyone who has tried to get a single disk of somebody will know the problem -- The Charlie Parker disk is particularly outstanding -- with Salt Peanuts, KoKo, and lots of others. If you wanted to get these separately it would cost you big bucks. The Ella Fitzgerald disc looks outstanding too. Actually they all look really carefully thought through -- like the Smithsonian series. And a good range --Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins (yes, "Body and Soul"), Count Basie (could have one or two more early ones, but hey). Really, if people are going to go out and buy records stamped KEN BURNS JAZZ, then they are in for some real treats.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Art Thieme
Date: 10 Jan 01 - 04:22 PM

Hey, I'm thoroughly enjoying deleting the overstatements on the fly --- watching this with my video tape control wand in hand and trying to keep the segments with the music rather than the opinions. Some of the clips are priceless. But why so few complete songs?????? It drives me nuts when something great and musical begins and is interrupted by talking heads playing musical chairs.
There's a GREAT clip around of a truly soulful and flying high Billie Holiday with Lester Young and Jerry Mulligan and others that simply demands to be included uncut in this series --- NOT EDITED, VOLUME-SUPPRESSED and SLICED so it can include inserted verbosity.

We'll see what K.B. does with it. In the first 2 segments he has already done way too much of this.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Peter T.
Date: 10 Jan 01 - 04:39 PM

As I said on the other thread, this is the predictable CBS TV show from the 50s which has been shown uncut a lot. I saw it a few months ago for the umpteenth time on some other special -- you can probably get it somewhere.
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 11:55 AM

Jeez, can you imagine how pissed we'd be if it was "Ken Burns' FOLK film"? I can see it now.. "Here's your host, Emmy Lou Harris, (I like Emmy Lou, but like Wynton...she'd be recognizable to mainstream America, and I'd be wanting someone like Tony Seeger, who ain't). There'd be a full hour on Gram Parsons, and no mention of J.E. Mainer....and I'd be in a verbal snit! Oh well....it beats "Survivor".

Rick


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 12:12 PM

Well that's been kinda' my point Rick, but others have convinced me this program is totally without merit so I am better off watching "Austin Powers." And speaking of that......

What do you all think about the opening scene of the "Spy Who SHagged Me" when Austin discovers he has married a FEMBOT??? I liked the part where the machine guns popped out of her tits, but I really question whether there was any significant background development to this "Boob-Shooter." The Irish have employed Boob-Shooters for many years and indeed the tradition is strong. No mention was made or homage paid to the early Irish Boob-Shooters such as "Big Mo"....one Maureen Gilhooly, who mounted twin Tommy guns in her huge breasts back in '38. But in an obvious ploy for ratings, the FEMBOT has a decidedly southern European look about her and not Irish at all. I think Myers is trying to breastwash us here.

.........gimmee peace.........................

Spaw


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: GUEST,LEJ
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 12:21 PM

Rick,you couldn't possibly cover all of Gram Parson's contributions in a mere hour:>}

LEJ(with Destiny in my right hand)


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 07:01 PM

Yeah, I KNOW I keep bringing THIS Ken Burns thread up, but it does get up my nose that the one with the insulting title gets far more attention. Why should I be surprised?

Even though I'll miss most of the remaining episodes 'cause of work, I'm probably gonna get the whole shebang from the library when it gets there. Even with omissions and arguments about Burns' taste, I DO like looking at old photos (even the same one of Louis over and over) and the music is wonderful.

Rick


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: pict
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 07:36 PM

If you want to hear free improvisational singing Scots Gaelic free church of Scotland psalm singing will give you an education each member of the congration is free to choose any note they want and they all harmonise together in reply to the precentor who gives them the melodic idea to reply to.

Jazz though is imo the crowning achievment of American artistic endeavour and who can argue that the majority of the major innovators were black bebop itself was a revolution within a revolution.As for the comparisons between Jazz and Irish music it should be remembered that Irish traditional music is very conservative and resistant to innovation and although there are fields within the tradition that are very improvisational in nature ,mostly people want to hear the tune they remember and not a personally reharmonised version of it.

Embellishment and interpration is valued but complete transformation is generally rejected in Celtic traditional music.


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: pict
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 07:43 PM

Doh! interpretation I'm off to come up with a definition for interpration.


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 08:30 PM

The same hardening off of song presentation is found in Jazz. Recording of course having much to do with it. As big band orchestras get a hold of the tradition their performances become quite standardized.

There is no doubt that many contributers were african american and no one is discounting the wonder of the achievement.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: catspaw49
Date: 15 Jan 01 - 08:16 PM

Well Conrad, there won't be too much on the Irish again, but the series airs episode 4 this evening. For those of you who are just enjoying the old pix and other clips, I will be too!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 16 Jan 01 - 03:39 AM

One of the chief marvels of the civil war series, of course, was bringing the old photographs to life with the narration and commentaries. I would hope that when he would get into the 20th century heart of this jazz documentary, Burns would let more of the music speak for itself with the film footage that's available. As this series progresses, it's becoming clearer that the narration over pictures in the civil war series wasn't only because there was no film footage then, but because it is the Burns documentary style. I'm enjoying this interpretive history, but I wish that Burns would sometimes just lay back and let us see a complete tune or song on film run its course. We should be given the opportunity to sit back and watch a few things uninterrupted. The Louis Armstrong on stage footage is available in complete form, uninterrupted, on a video collection of early jazz shorts called "At The Jazz Band Ball."

-chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: SeanM
Date: 16 Jan 01 - 04:32 AM

I think I'm liking the later episodes better... rather than trying to present "the times" (in which any attempt to be definitive or comprehensive is probably doomed), the series seems to be heading more towards profiles of the innovators and primary figures of the period.

I STILL wish they'd let the music speak more.

M


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 16 Jan 01 - 11:32 AM

I gather this is being shown in the UK later in the year so I'll be able to judge it for myself but it sounds as if it is only one or two cheers rather than 3 so far.
RtS


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 16 Jan 01 - 11:46 AM

I'm in the process of listening to a (very polite) discussion of the series on NPR (America's National Public Radio) and oh are the participants trying to tread lightly over a couple of things.....while still being verrry critical. Their big beef (which they won't come right out and say) is that they think Wynton Marsalis is simply TOO articulate, and too "White bread", and possibly too rich and famous to "really represent jazz". If poor old (young) Wynton had publicly kicked a big-time drug habit, or done some time in the slammer, he'd get an easier ride. The other thing that they're trying to (subtly) imply is that they don't think he's a very original jazz player. They're going easy on Burns, 'cause he already covered his ass by admitting he didn't know beans about jazz before making the film.

I doubt if the controversy is going to have much effect on the popularity of the film in years to come though.

Rick


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: GUEST,jazzbo
Date: 17 Jan 01 - 02:45 AM

People are a bit late in saying Burns eliminated too many important jazz figures. If you go back to his baseball film, you'll find he did the same thing. He obviously prefers to focus on the really well-known people, rather than hunt down the lesser known fascinating characters. I guess it's a style, and it's proven popular, because he continues to get major funding. His films could me more interesting, but he'd have to show them in Festivals and Art houses.


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Jan 01 - 09:32 AM

Exactly the point. It may not be the greatest education in the world, but some people are getting exposure for the first time to people they never knew.....and that ain't all bad.

As a minor CW buff, I found the CW series lacking in great depth, but again a good piece for those who had little exposure. As a longtime baseball fan, I could have used a lot more. The same is holding true for this series. Sister Connie and her kids (15 & 12) are enjoying the hell out of it and they want to go check some things out of the library this week. Now that's GOOD gawddammit and I don't give a crap whether or not anyone else agrees its a primer or not, in their case, its working that way.

Art Tatum is a good example of someone we might all consider a true legend and icon, yet most people have never heard of him and he fascinated Connie's family, and I bet they aren't alone! I still contend that THAT is what this series is about.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 12:13 AM

Alright! The best episode yet, on the 1955-1960 era, and giving special emphasis to the demise of Lady Day, the maturation of Miles as a composer and innovator, the ground breaking phenomenon of Ornette Colman, and the revolutionary impact of my favorite Jazz performer, John Coltrane. I feel that the period from 1945 (with Bird and Diz reaching their creative peaks) through the late '60s, when Jazz/rock diluted much of Jazz's purity and power, was the golden era, and I highly look forward to the next episode.

Which reminds me...the topic of improvisation, of the creative act being generated during the performance, is a recurring theme in the program. That, I believe, is an interesting dichotomy among the two forms of traditional music that are the raison d'etre for this forum. Blues, to me, is a very musician oriented music, and (as in Jazz) its best moments seem to be unanticipated, improvised. This seems to be innate to the form, whereas in folk, the piece of music is more often brought out and performed by script- being true to the tune and the lyrics is the rule. The Blues is music/musician oriented, while Folk is song oriented. Does anyone feel that these two musical traditions are somewhat at odds in this regard...or am I all wet? I realize that there is room for improv in instrumental bluegrass, Irish and other Folk forms, but isn't there a powerful pressure also in play to be true to the song?


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Peter T.
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 09:40 AM

I had a chance to see the first episode the other night (I don't have a TV) and while there were things to grumble about I was impressed, as I always am, by how elegantly Ken Burns puts these things together. The best thing, which he somehow seems to have stumbled on, is to let the audience work with the still photographs. Virtually every other filmmaker would be terrified to show a battered picture of Buddy Bolden; but by lingering on it, it makes you part of the mystery. As ever, it is is the slow lingering parts and not the fast parts that make TV magic, in spite of all the trends in the other direction.

The most incredible piece of film was the 3 second clip in the New Orleans market with an old woman WEARING A BRETON HEADDRESS!!!!!!!It told you more about New Orleans history than 2 hours of narrative. I was completely stunned. The whole series was worth it for that 3 seconds. Incredible.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 10:38 AM

I watched episode 9 (?) last night, because I suddenly realized they're re-running it at 1 am. Goody.

Now here's one thing that I found fascinating. I was one of those who said "Oh no, he's not going to show that old clip of Billie singing "to" the Prez again....BUT...he put their relationship in context. That was informative, and put a new slant on it.

Interesting Peter. I missed that. Great discovery. I'll make sure I catch it next time around.

Good point Leej. Heather asked the same thing last night. Gotta think that one over. Gotta say though, that an awful lot of "improvising" jazzers couldn't "hear" what Ornette was doing. 'Fraid I'm one of 'em. Traddy to the end I guess.

Rick


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 10:38 AM

I suppose there are a lot of nits to pick whenever people knowledgeable in a subject look at what was produced as an overview. I really admire what Ken Burns does in distilling broad and wide-ranging subjects for a generally uninformed public.

The criticisms that I have heard so far - too much Winton, too much emphasis on big names, not enough full performances - are all legit, but IMO unavoidable. If I was Ken Burns approaching a subject in which I had no real base of knowledge, I'd look for someone who did to help structure the discussion. Hence Winton Marsalis. He has a broad knowledge and understanding of the subject, and again in my opinion fewer axes to grind than most "experts" who invariably have their own favorite players and specific take on what it all means.

As great as it would be to see full performances and to "let the music speak for itself", that is not a good strategy when trying to introduce a subject to a new audience. The average listener didn't get bop when it was fresh and new; offering black and white video of a twenty year old performance and at face value probably won't sell it. Not when the remote is sitting so close at hand.


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: catspaw49
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 10:53 AM

I have watched all of the episodes so far and some are better than others, but the last three have really become better and better. Last night had some simply outstanding music and clips. Perhaps its because the later years are less "speculative." Several times, I thought of Art and his remote. They did not skip over lightly the importance of Lester Young and in the context and constraints of the time factor, Burns has done (to me at least) a fine job. The difficulty in covering this subject and satisfying everyone is not to be achieved by anyone, but there have been some moments and clips that stand alone as being worth the "price of admission."

Spaw


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: catspaw49
Date: 31 Jan 01 - 11:03 PM

Well, its over.........comments there folks?

The last 5 episodes were real gems. No, not a jazz buffs delight, but one helluva' education for the general population....which is what Burns says at the end.

BTW Rick......Marsalis plays a Monette trumpet.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 12:13 AM

Great ending...death of the Greats, birth of a new generation. The parts about Trane's and Louis' passing put tears in my eyes. Since I'm mostly a jazz dilletante, it helped me get a good picture of the evolution of the form. Like the CW and Baseball series, overall well done and head and shoulders above television's other offerings. We need a hell of a lot more of this , and a hell of a lot less Fantasy Island.


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Peter T.
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 09:58 AM

A very interesting review in this week's New York Review of Books (I don't have the article or the reviewer's name to hand) of the whole series. I cannot comment on any of this, having only seen the first in the series! Just reporting!
Apart from the usual cricitisms, the author argues:
1) That the America, America stuff is overdone, and points to the lack of reference to Latin American music throughout, including Tizol and other important people;
2) The portrayal of Duke Ellington recycles the sole hero model, underplaying the work of Strayhorn, but also that Ellington was a consummate arranger and re-arranger of the ideas of his band members;
3) He is bothered by what he calls very subtle intimations of racism and anti-Semitism in the series. These include the casting of the blacks as intuitive musicians (as opposed to expert musicians, craftsmen, etc.); and the references to the two main Jews in the series Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw as in it for "the fame and fortune", obliquely focussing on their desire for money, etc.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: 'JAZZ'-Ken Burns10partSeries-THIS WEEK
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 09:58 AM

I liked most of it a lot, but even a "jazz dilettante" like me has a few items on his wish list. I missed any mention they may have made to Western Swing music (the pedal steel guitar is an awe inspiring jazz instrument in the right hands and feet). Bob Wills deserved at least a gloss. It's too bad they didn't mention guitar jazz a little more also, especially in the post 60's. John McLaughlin & Al DiMaeola (sp?) at least deserved mention. And how about Ry Cooder? Talk about a voice crying out in the desert. . .

I enjoyed immensely what they did include, though.


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