Hi all. I just finished Ken Burns "Jazz", 10 DVD's. I know that some of this was aired on PBS US over the last years but the DVD's are much more complete. Probably the best educational viewing I've ever seen. A must for Jazz lovers. On DVD 9 / 10 there's a great shot of Stan as a young man and a quick blurb on his style.
Hey frankeric, so what did YOU think of this set by Burns? I bought it years ago, have watched the ten DVD's twice and came to the same conclusion as William Berlind states in his January 15, 2001 article in the New York Observer , see:
"...it's clear from the tight-assed perspective of Jazz that trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, the 'senior creative consultant' on the project, is the real intellectual force behind the film....Mr. Marsalis, who is also the creative director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, has long made it clear where his affecitons lie. It's 'yes' to Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong, and 'no' to post-60's jazz....His traditional programs seek to establish a jazz canon, to make jazz a classical music....Jazz lives, but you wouldn't know it from this film....
Nothing I can add to this except that I give it a low grade and would not recommend it to fans of post '6O jazz, especially those of us who were weaned on the cool school, bop and what followed.
Frank, I don't know a great deal about this publication's editorial policies but I remember clearly that my reaction to the Burns documentary was almost identical to that of the writer. As for the rags, as you call them, you are correct. Neither the the NYT, the LAT nor the Washington Post's political editorial opinions are worth a second look. On matters of music, art and architecture, however, they still afford certain freedoms of expression and come up with interesting columns. I can lead you to more than one article on this subject, however, that expresses the same opinions about the Burns epic. Mr. Marsalis has his own ax to grind. So be it. Not everyone is forced to agree. This is still a free country, I think.
As for forced retirement of creative, productive and vigorous people I agree with you entirely although I do believe that those that are dead should consider removing themselves from the active list. They're playing in a better place now, anyway.
I enjoy this discussions and value your opinions. Beats talking about drug addiction, doesn't it?
Never too late to follow your bliss. You're not out to prove anything. Whether you play an instrument, listen to others and/or let the music dwell in your soul, it provides a healing process that defies explanation.
I asked my dad if I could play the sax when I was eight. Two musicians came to the house and told him that I had a natural talent for music. They also said I would have to start with the clarinet. My dad unwilling to spend the money and me not interested in the clarinet quickly ended that episode in my life. When at the age of eleven a well known music teacher in New York offered to give me piano lessons at no expense I responded by saying I was more interested in playing baseball. That concluded any hope of a musical career. But the wish to make music never left me. By the time I was in my forties I invested in a Fender Rhodes piano, loaded it into the back of my car (with the help of the Ink Spots who were in the music store at the same time) and began to teach myself to play by ear. (After all, I thought, Erroll Garner never learned to read music!) And much like you I spent some of my happiest moments at the keyboard fantasizing that I was Bill Evans. I think that playing an instrument and becoming immersed in music allows one to enter a world far removed from the realities of every day life. It is a means to, as I said, heal the soul and to come to the realization that we we're put on this planet to contribute not to destroy.
At about the same time I discovered the joy in sliding down a hill on boards and developed a passion for skiing. Not long after that I met the love of my life who I try to keep up with as we schuss down the Alpine slopes in tandem. Talk about following your bliss.
I urge you to stick to your routine of practice. You will be a happier man if you do. Some people get a kick from champagne; whatever works for you is where it's at.
My best wishes for your happiness and continued success.
P.S. One last word about the Burns epic: any documentary dealing with the history and development of jazz in the USA that gives short shrift to Stan Getz, quite possibly the greatest tenor man ever, omits any mention of Bill Evans, one of the most brilliant and influential pianists in the story of jazz and too many others to mention here is, in my opinion, simply an opportunity for one man to push his own agenda. Whoever wants my copy is welcome to have it.