Ken Burns documentary on jazz

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Jan 9 07:59:17 MST 2001

The first installment on an ambitious series began last night on PBS, the
US network devoted to "high culture" and kitsch, mostly sponsored by oil
companies and other multinationals--although nominally noncommercial.

It is very worth much watching and I will have a more complete review this
weekend, after the first 3 programs have aired. Two things are worth noting
right now. Most of the analysis is rooted in a certain trend within jazz
scholarship, exemplified by Wynton Marsalis and his associate Stanley
Crouch, who run the jazz repertory series at Lincoln Center. Both of them
have been strongly influenced by 83 year old Albert Murray, who insists on
being called American rather than African-American. All three are featured
prominently as talking heads, along with Village Voice writer Gary Giddens.

Despite the insistence that jazz is an American music, Marsalis and Crouch
have been accused of systematically excluding white composers and
performers from the Lincoln Center repertory. I will address these
questions in my review of the series this weekend. Stay tuned.

Louis Proyect
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