Season 1, Episode 1 Gumbo (Beginnings-1917)

First Aired: January 8, 2001

“Gumbo” (Part 1 of 10) focuses on New Orleans, where jazz was born, examining the musical and cultural ingredients that went into the soup. It begins in 1817, when slaves were first permitted to sing and dance on Sundays, and ends with a “coda” introducing the series' central figure, New Orleans native Louis Armstrong. Keith David narrates. Interviewees include trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.

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  • Premiered: January 8, 2001
  • Rating: None
  • 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 o… (more)

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