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Story of Jazz [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Bmg Special Product
  • VHS Release Date: March 2, 1994
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6303023029
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #572,571 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Produced as the title segment to a six-part series, this 90-minute documentary traces the evolution of jazz from its 19th-century origins in New Orleans's Congo Square, where slaves first introduced American listeners to the complex rhythms and earthy textures of African music. How that cultural diaspora combined with European and American folk, classical, and popular styles to become jazz, "America's classical music," is an oft-told tale, but it's handsomely served here by an intelligent script shaped by veteran jazz journalist Chris Albertson, and a well-chosen array of performances: Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Willie "the Lion" Smith, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Jimmie Lunceford, Charles Mingus, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughan, and Gil Evans all appear, representing as complete a pantheon of major innovators and influences as could be hoped for. Period footage, including both stills and rare film clips, and interviews with musicians and scholars round out a portrait equally appropriate for hard-core jazz fans and novice listeners looking for a point of entry. --Sam Sutherland

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Toenjes on March 10, 2004
Format: DVD
The best 90-minute look at jazz you can imagine. I used this in my music class and the kids were engaged all the way. Interviews are to the point and fun, clips are great. Hard to imagine a better succint treatment of the history of jazz. Highest recommendation!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By singerdeb on September 28, 2005
Format: DVD
I teach a Music Appreciation course and this dvd was ideal for the introduction to jazz in this setting. I use more of the Ken Burns series in my American Popular Music course, but this dvd is an excellent overview. I ordered the dvd to have shown in class when I had to be away, and it was just right. If you are completely new to jazz, it's a good place to start. There is a good bit of attention given to bebop and basically ends there; I do wish that some had been given to jazz-rock and bossa nova. But in a dvd of this length, there is no way to cover everything. If you are fairly well versed in jazz already, you probably want something more comprehensive.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Scott R. Harding on January 27, 2005
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I use select bits of this video in both my Jazz History and Music Appreciation classes. Having real musicians talk about (and play!) the music really draws the students in, much more so than just talking about the players and seeing them in the book. The video is well-planned, well-directed and exceptionally well thought-out.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "jjjoules" on February 14, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
The samplings are wonderful[esp. Willie the Lion Smith and Sarah Vaughn],but the commentary does justice to all the included muscians as well as the history of jazz in general.I could watch this video ten times in ten days and not get tired of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Meyer on September 8, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Not Ken Burns, but it doesn't take 10 hours to watch, either. I use this DVD to introduce students to Jazz history over the Burns video, simply because the Burns video is too big, too long, and too inclusive. However, that means that this DVD leaves out much. My biggest problem with using it, though, is that the narration is hard to understand and goes by quickly, so that I must stop and fill in and/or reiterate points made. That said, I will continue to use it unless and until I find a better, concise version of the history of Jazz. If you are interested in the history and development of jazz, this video has some great interviews that make it worth owning.
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