Ken Burns documentary on jazz

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Tue Jan 9 08:29:32 MST 2001

>>> lnp3 at 01/09/01 09:59AM >>>
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.


CB: I heard a few interesting facts on the show.

"Jim Crow" was the name of the first printed "minstrel" song written by a white man
,"Big Daddy" someone, before the Civil War, I believe. Of course, it was a song "he
heard a Black man , Jim Crow, singing ", supposedly. Minstrel music was termed a
"television" of the period, something everyone across the nation saw. Anyway, the
presentation suggested that the plan for segregation/Jim Crow was presaged in artistic
imagination while slavery was still in effect. So, once again aesthetes on the
rightwing, functioning critically as propagandists.

I thought one insightful comment from Wynton Marsalis was his noting the improvisation
in jazz reflects the necessity that slaves and Black people faced to improvise in
their precarious social status. Improvisation reflects the pragmatism forced on the
masses of alienated people in U.S. capitalism.

Also, someone explained that jazz arose in part as prettifying filler in the spaces of
blues songs.

I had never heard before that one individual, Bill Bolden, a trumpeter in New Orleans
was the actual first person to play jazz.

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