Jazz Episodes

2001, TV Show

Episode Detail: Swing: The Velocity of Celebration (1937-1939) - Jazz

"Swing: The Velocity of Celebration" (Part 6 of 10) covers 1937-39---years when "Americans seemed to have an insatiable appetite" for swing, says narrator Keith David. Among the highlights: the tenor sax emerges as a major jazz instrument, thanks to Coleman Hawkins and his rival, Lester Young; and pianist Count Basie takes the jazz mecca Kansas City---and then the nation---by storm. Basie also hires Billie Holiday. She was, says Branford Marsalis, "the greatest jazz singer of them all."

Episodes: Jazz (11)

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Premiered: January 08, 2001, on PBS
Rating: None
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Premise: Ken Burns' panoramic 10-part essay on `America's music.' Jazz, says narrator Keith David, is `creation on the spot.' Not so with this documentary series: It took six years to produce and featured some 500 pieces of music and 75 interviewees. The opinions of the primary one, Wynton Marsalis (billed as `senior creative consultant'), riled a number of critics. But few could dispute the genius of Burns' two key `Jazz' artists, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.

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