Eastern Lowland Gorilla
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NF has picked up a load of PBS stuff the past while, including a lot of Ken Burns' documentaries. I've just starting watching his 10 part series on the history of jazz (called just "Jazz").
Partway into episode 2 and it is good. Part 1 was the evolution of jazz from a variety of musical streams ranging from spirituals to ragtime to blues and then the very earliest jazz artists. Part 2 kicks off with the beginnings of the great Louis Armstrong (true story: he was arrested and sent to a "waifs' home" at 11 and his playing in their band was so good that one parade through his old neighbourhood netted enough donations to buy new instruments and uniforms for the band) and then explores the post-WWI racial tensions that fed into the evolution of the music (and likely more but that's as far as I got last night).
And that's a real strength of the series - they don't shy away from the fact that racism and race politics played a very real role in how the music evolved and was taken up in society. Another true story: the first jazz recording was made by an all white Dixieland band whose Italian-American leader claimed to have invented jazz and also claimed that there was no way music like that could have come out of Africans.
The section on Armstrong was an eye-opener. I knew he was big but I also mostly know him from his late career recordings like "What a Wonderful World", though I have heard some early Armstrong. This documentary basically puts him forward as the Mozart of jazz; the whiz-kid prodigy who took the music to a whole new level.