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A Masterpiece by Midnight

A Masterpiece by Midnight

During the Sixties, jazz is in trouble. Critics divide the music into "schools" - Dixieland, swing, bebop, hard bop, modal, free, avant-garde. But most young people are listening to rock 'n' roll.
S1 E10 Length 1:48:32 Premiere: 12.15.15

Program Details

Jazz

About Jazz

Jazz has been called the purest expression of American democracy; a music built on individualism and compromise, independence and cooperation. Ken Burns follows the growth and development of jazz music from the gritty streets of New Orleans to Chicago's south side, the speakeasies of Kansas city and to Times Square.

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Risk (1945-1955) - S1 E8

Jazz becomes the official symbol of American democracy abroad. At home, the music splinters into different camps: white and black, cool and hot, East and West, traditional and modern. Television offers fewer opportunities for jazz to be heard, and many big bands dismantle. The rhythm and blues phenomenon further erodes the audience for jazz. Dizzy Gillespie forms a big band and blends modern jazz with Latin rhythms. A quieter sound known as "cool" jazz includes baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and piano player Dave Brubeck. Trumpeter Miles Davis becomes the most influential musician of his generation.

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The Adventure (1955-1960) - S1 E9

As rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll further erode the jazz audience, the music nonetheless enjoys a time of tremendous creativity. Saxophonist Sonny Rollins makes his mark on the scene, and young trumpeter Clifford Brown achieves great artistry, cut short by death in a car accident. Vocalist Sarah Vaughan forever sets a standard for jazz singing. The free-jazz pioneer, Ornette Coleman, whose music challenges all of the conventions of jazz, signals the arrival of the avant garde and provokes a debate about the definition of jazz that continues to this day.

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A Masterpiece by Midnight (1960-Present) - S1 E10

In the 1960s, jazz becomes divided into "schools" - Dixieland, swing, bop, hard bop, cool, modal, free, avant-garde. The question of what is jazz and what isn't rages, dividing audiences, dividing musicians, dividing generations. For many, the real question is whether jazz, the most American of art forms, will survive at all. By the mid-80s, jazz begins to be heard in concert halls, on rap records, in film scores, and television commercials. As it approaches its centennial, jazz is still alive and still changing.

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Dedicated to Chaos (1940-1945) - S1 E7

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Swing: The Velocity of Celebration (1937-1939) - S1 E6

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Swing: Pure Pleasure (1935-1937) - S1 E5

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The True Welcome (1929-1935) - S1 E4

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Season 1 Episodes

A Masterpiece by Midnight

S1 E10 Length 1:48:32 Premiere Date 12.15.15

The Adventure

S1 E9 Length 1:54:32 Premiere Date 12.15.15

Risk

S1 E8 Length 1:58:35 Premiere Date 12.15.15

Dedicated to Chaos

S1 E7 Length 1:53:09 Premiere Date 12.13.15

Swing: The Velocity of Celebration

S1 E6 Length 1:39:45 Premiere Date 12.15.15

Swing: Pure Pleasure

S1 E5 Length 1:28:38 Premiere Date 12.15.15

The True Welcome

S1 E4 Length 1:58:57 Premiere Date 12.15.15

Our Language

S1 E3 Length 1:46:40 Premiere Date 12.15.15

The Gift

S1 E2 Length 1:48:52 Premiere Date 12.15.15

Gumbo

S1 E1 Length 1:21:48 Premiere Date 12.15.15

Louis Armstrong Returns to Europe

Clip Length 02:12 Premiere Date 1.6.12

The Savoy Ballroom

Clip Length 03:53 Premiere Date 1.6.12

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