Ken Burns documentary on jazz

George Snedeker snedeker at
Tue Jan 9 11:32:29 MST 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: Charles Brown <CharlesB at>
To: <marxism at>
Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2001 10:30 AM
Subject: Re: Ken Burns documentary on jazz

> >>> 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.

G.S. i had never heard this story either. this kind of story telling draws
attention away from the social production of art and isolates the Great
Individual. this time the great man goes mad. how romantic? the story of
jazz is the history of a popular music. will Burns transform it into the
story of elite creaters?

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