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First off, let's get the kudos down: Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns deserve far more than simple gratitude for bringing jazz to the limelight with this lavishly illustrated volume. The book features among its 500-plus pictures many of the previously unseen shots of musicians and venues glimpsed in Burns's 10-part documentary, Jazz. (See our Ken Burns Jazz Store for the lowdown on the series.) Jazz: An Illustrated History follows the film episode by episode, and it's filled with rich historical detail in the early chapters. Like the series, however, the book trails off after a certain point in chronicling jazz's history. It gives background aplenty on early New Orleans music, the migration of jazz up the Mississippi to major urban centers, and the developments of swing and bebop. After bebop, the history gets a bit perfunctory. Dozens of major figures get mere sidebar coverage. Little is said of substance on Latin or Brazilian jazz, European contributions to the music, fusion, or umpteen smaller deviations from the mainstream. There are wonderful essays that highlight elements of jazz culture, particularly Gerald Early's consideration of race and white musicians in jazz and Gary Giddins's five-page essay on avant jazz. And there are fine sidebars as well. But developments during and after the 1960s are dealt with primarily in impressionistic guest essays rather than detail-oriented historical narrative. It is, of course, difficult to capture all jazz history in any single volume. So perhaps this ought to have been called Jazz: A Historical Appreciation, since the hundreds of images certainly create an intense sense of the music's milieu. --Andrew Bartlett
A companion volume to the new Burns and Ward documentaryDa 19-hour, 10-episode series set to air on PBS in January, 2001Dthis lavishly illustrated history describes the evolution of jazz during the 20th century, focusing on the careers of a key players like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Benny Goodman. In his introduction to the massive volume, Burns writes that his decision to make Jazz was inspired by a comment made by Gerald Early, a writer he interviewed for the authors' last documentary, Baseball. "Two thousand years from now," Early said, "there will only be three things that Americans will be known for: The Constitution, baseball and jazz music." Burns admits he knew next to nothing about jazz before deciding to create "the most comprehensive treatment of jazz ever committed to film," and there lies the work's Achilles' heel. Burns has his conclusionDthat jazz is a metaphor for the United StatesDfirmly in hand before he begins to know his subject. This smugness translates into a rather tepid, conservative view of jazz. Not every subject or musician can be touched upon in one book; however, it does seem strange that such a sweepingly titled volume does not touch upon the musical roots of jazz, e.g. Africa's talking drums, or mention the Lockbourne Airforce Base, where many noted black jazz musicians received training. The entire 40-year period from 1960 forward is relegated to a single chapter, a rather pronounced statement about how the authors feel about more recent achievements. More than 500 illustrations and photos. (Nov. 6)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The best way to learn about American history and a well-researched, detailed history of American created music. Love itPublished 14 days ago by Science Fiction Buff
Unbelievable book especially for a researcher and covers a lot of ground beyond music/jazz: A History of the the period.Published 5 months ago by Robert Harvey
My guy already had this book and loves it ~ he got another copy at Christmas for a buddy who is also a jazz fan.Published 6 months ago by Toni Tarango
An amazing book from an amazing documentary. Keep up the good work.Published 7 months ago by JetPak
Excellent condition. I have wanted this book for several years but not willing to pay nearly $100 for it. Great conversation piece.Published 11 months ago by V. Card
arrived in excellent condition, content superb. We are listening to this over and over as there is much material presented. It is narrated wonderfully by Lavar Burton . Read morePublished 19 months ago by Elizabeth R.
This book completes the circle of Ken Burns' research and the filming of Jazz. If you love Jazz, or are just learning about it; I find this tome an essential piece of American... Read morePublished on February 17, 2013 by Michael P. Ruzza
Definately a great book to have with the CD series. I purchases this after we started watching the PBS special in my American Popular Music Class. Very good.Published on December 19, 2012 by Bottigal