Jazz: By the Episode
Monday, Jan. 8, "Gumbo" (Beginnings to 1917):
The origins of jazz. References slavery, minstrel shows, ragtime, and the New Orleans music scene, including early marching bands and early jazz bands including the one led by Buddy Bolden, the first celebrated jazz musician.
Tuesday, Jan. 9, "The Gift" (1917-24):
Concentrates on the early development of New Orleans jazz and the beginning of Louis Armstrong's career, including his association with bandleader King Oliver.
Wednesday, Jan. 10, "Our Language" (1924-28):
Armstrong begins to become a star. Also early jazz singers Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters, early composing/arranging great Jelly Roll Morton, and a look at early white jazzmen including Bix Beiderbecke and Benny Goodman.
Monday, Jan. 15, "The True Welcome" (1929-35):
Armstrong becomes an international star. The origins of the big-band era, spotlighting Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson, and the effects of the Great Depression.
Wednesday, Jan. 17, "Swing: Pure Pleasure" (1935-37):
The Depression continues, but jazz lightens Americans' spirits. Big-band music sparks a dance craze, and Benny Goodman's band becomes a smash hit.
Monday, Jan. 22, "Swing: The Velocity of Celebration" (1937-39):
Swing continues to be fantastically popular. The impact of Count Basie.
Tuesday, Jan. 23, "Dedicated to Chaos" (1940-45):
Transition from swing to bop, featuring Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. Jazz artists (and everyone else) endure another world war.
Wednesday, Jan. 24, "Risk" (1945-55):
With Parker as the central figure, bebop takes center stage with its revolutionary new aesthetic. The jazz audience begins to shrink.
Monday, Jan. 29, "The Adventure" (1956-60):
Miles Davis takes over as jazz's central figure. He forms great bands including one with John Coltrane, and explores various styles.
Wednesday, Jan. 31, "A Masterpiece by Midnight" (1961-present):
Dexter Gordon returns to America; the twilight of Armstrong and Ellington's careers (and lives). A brief section on the avant-garde movement of the Seventies; John Coltrane is spotlighted. Burns anoints retro jazzmen like Wynton Marsalis the hope of the future.