Ken Burns: Jazz iTunes (Canada)

2020 Album Draft- Round 13 Pick 10- Film- Cincinnati Babyhead selects- Ken Burns Jazz.

Being a music/film lover I have watched so many good ones. So what do I choose? ‘The Last Waltz’ and ‘The Kids Are All Right’ are the two I have watched the most. They could have easily been taken to the island but when it comes down to it one film just kept rising to the top. ‘Jazz’

Dedicated to Chaos: Ken Burns' Jazz, Part 7 - Video - Films On Demand

It’s close to twenty hours long and could have been twice that length with the vast amount of music and characters jazz encompasses. I’ll keep this real short. Ken Burns takes us from the beginnings, New Orleans jazz, Dixieland, into swing, big band, Bebop, Avant- garde free jazz, fusion. There are contributions by the people who made the music (Like Winton Marsalis), played it, wrote about it, danced to it, listened to it etc. Keith David has the perfect voice to narrate this story.

Swing: The Velocity of Celebration—Ken Burns' Jazz, Part 6 - Video - Films  On Demand

This isn’ just a music lesson, it’s a history lesson of a piece of America. Race, cultures, drug abuse, love and a whole lot more. Even if you don’t dig the music you will find the story fascinating. Burns touches on as many of the genres and musicians as he can. The men and woman who made and played this music. Throughout the film Burns keeps us updated on Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington’s journeys. You feel that you really get to know a big piece of these men and what they went through and what they were about. Their impact on the music and culture cannot be underestimated. I cried twice in the film, actually three times. When Billie Holiday, Louis and Duke left us. I still get moved thinking about it.

Miles Davis: Miles' Styles : NPR

Throw whatever preconceptions you have about jazz music out and enjoy a great story that celebrates so much about us as people. Something for everyone in this film. Stay cool.

The trailer below will sell it to you.

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  1. While I am happy with my selection of A Hard Day’s Night- this one is a great great pick which I didn’t think of- I have watched it every 5 years since it came out- 20 years ago–this was my big introduction to getting into Jazz. Great doc- and great music to go with it.

  2. I’ve seen parts of this but never the complete series. I know it has to be great with Ken Burns name on it. I love the music but add the history to it…and that makes it great. Thanks CB for bringing this one up.

  3. it’s a big commitment of time to set out to watch, but I bet it would be excellent as you suggest…not only for the music but the changing times it reflects. Burns is a master at that type of documentary.

  4. I have not watched this yet, even though I’ve always intended to. I’m glad for this reminder. I just checked streaming options: PBS.org has the entire series available to stream with their Passport subscription, which I have and love. It’s also available through Amazon Prime with the PBS Documentaries add-on.

  5. A wonderful and thoughtful pick CB. I’ve seen a few episodes of this, though never the complete series. Ken Burns does a phenomenal job with every subject he’s covered, from the Civil War to National Parks to The Roosevelts to Country Music, all of which I loved watching.

    • He does such a good job on everything he makes. Entertaining and I pick up so many things I had no idea about. The Vietnam War was a case in point. Talk about an education. Even though I was a jaz guy before this, he brought so much more for me to explore.

  6. CB you chose well here. Never thought of those Ken Burns’ music series or I might have picked the Country Music one. I will be seeing this and in the time of covid and winter there is no better time to see it.

    • You and me both on hunkering down to watch some Burns work this winter. You asked about the Country doc. Yes I watched it and really liked it. He kinda did the same thing with Haggard and Cash as he did with Ellington and Armstrong. Great stuff.

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