Masterpiece by Midnight, A (1960 to the Present)
- 2000 ----- color ----- 108 min ----- vhs
(Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns series, Part 10)
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. Though Louis Armstrong briefly outsells the Beatles with Hello Dolly, most jazz musicians are desperate for work and many head for Europe including bebop saxophone master, Dexter Gordon.
- At home, jazz is searching for relevance. During the Civil Rights struggle, it becomes a voice of protest. Before his early death, the avant-garde explorer John Coltrane links jazz to the Sixties quest for a higher consciousness with his devotional suite, A Love Supreme. And Miles Davis, after conquering the avant-garde with a landmark quintet, combines jazz with rock 'n' roll by using electric instruments to launch a wildly popular sound called Fusion.
- In the 1970s, jazz loses the exuberant genius of Louis Armstrong and the transcendent artistry of Duke Ellington, and for many their passing seems to mark the end of the music itself. But in 1976, when Dexter Gordon returns from Europe for a triumphant comeback, jazz has a homecoming, too. Over the next two decades, a new generation of musicians emerges, led by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis--schooled in the music's traditions, skilled in the arts of improvisation, and aflame with ideas only jazz can express. The musical journey that began in the dance halls and street parades of New Orleans at the start of the 20th century continues. As it enters its second century, jazz is still brand new every night, still vibrant, still evolving and still swinging [Closed-Captioned]. (Funded, in part, by the Department of American Ethnic Studies)
- Topics: (American Ethnic Studies: Afro-American, Ethnomusicology, History: American, Motion Pictures: Documentary, Music, United States)