Television Whitenoise: Ken Burns Jazz
This show had a huge impact on me – I had been listening to jazz for ages; had read around some of the history, but was wanting in some areas. This helped me fill in the gaps.
I have read some criticism about the series that it slants the history and puts some people on a pedestal while neglecting others, but god — look at what it packs in; and even if some of it is filtered through hero worship, the facts are still there.
The breadth of the subject always meant that this wasn’t going to be definitive, but if you wanted to introduce someone to jazz history this would serve as a wonderful introduction, and one which I am convinced would encourage them to explore further the things which are touched on.
Drawing a line from the legacy to the future and the thriving present is something they do not fail to do. The footage, the music, and the photographs used in this documentary series, and the talking heads gathered to offer opinions to frame the context, represents quite an achievement, and I think this is an important film, that in the name of education, everyone should watch and would surely enjoy.