1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

ken burns jazz- last episode

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by soundofphysics, Jan 31, 2001.

  1. soundofphysics


    Jul 17, 2000
    did anyone else get aggravated watching hte last installment of the ken burns jazz series. THey made miles seem like a sell out, and mentioned barely any modern guys with teh exception of wyton marsalis (whom i somewhat detest to be honest). Now up until this point i really loved this series, adn think its been responsible for a bit of a market rennasisance in jazz. But if you want to cover the entire jazz history- then cover the entire jazz history, you can't leave out huge chunks so you can tlak about marsalis for 20 minutes. The way they described it was as if jazz died during the 60's and 70's and tehn suddenly wynton marsalis brought it back to life. I don't think they did a fair enough job of covering bop either when compared to the time spent on louis and duek(both of which i love and listen to always don't get me wrong) but they showed a couple jazz cats from the last couple years, some of which i like, some of which i could care less about and whom i find obtuse and formulaic.

    sorry had to steam. To relax i'm gonna listen to mingus (also neglected by the series might i add) get a massage, and drink a keg full of coffee.

    i was just dissapointed in the sour end to anotherwise pretty great thing- anyone feel teh same or disagree with me??

    [Edited by soundofphysics on 01-31-2001 at 04:35 PM]
  2. BaroqueBass


    Jul 8, 2000
    Salem, OR
    At least ya got Mingus and whole lotta Trane
  3. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    I been listening to this on NPR and a couple of episodes ago it occurred to me that Ken Burns is like that new bass player who has just had mild epiphany that he's mistakenly assumed encompasses more than it really does. Burns did some research but he really knows sh*t about jazz other than what W.M. told him. It's too bad he didn't have another couple of decades of listening, study and meditation on this great music to come to his own and possibly more complete perspective. I'm willing to cut him a little more slack than I was at first. A very little.
  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I Just finished watching it here in the west coast. Jeez, he didn't even mention Miles' Bitches Brew period, or mingus's death. No mention at all of Pat Metheny and what the hell is an "electronic bass"

    I'm disgusted. I hope I get to see some Jaco footage at some point in my life.

    Will C.:cool:
  5. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
    I agree. By the late fifties through the seventies the subject becomes to massive to cover. Just the word Jazz becomes a marketing pigeon hole insult to many players and groups.

    I also agree that being a lover or just an avid fan of the art might have made the time progression a bit clearer. There was so much back pedaling even I was getting confused. Still there was plenty of anecdotal information which was news to me. Compiling the photography and putting words to it is what makes this a sort of archival keeper for me. It's also one of the best portraits of the horrors of American segragation. Dave Brubeck's accounts of this countries discrimination had me choked up.

    Burns' use of Marsalis was a good choice. He's a contemporary master of his instrument, his families combined knowledge of the history is huge, pluse their from New Orleans. He knowes Satchmo like we know Jaco.

    While there are alot of people playing today very few are doing anything new and ground breaking. Of course this is my personal opinion but the only people who sound fresh to ME are Pat Metheny and Joe Zawinul. I'm sure there may be a few more inovators out there but it's tough playing new and unusual music, if your not already famous, and get paid for it. Gee, no video?
  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...many, many, many others see Marsalis as the WORST of possible choices for this series. I'm NOT a Wynton basher...I do understand the concern, though, 'cause his vision of Jazz is sorta "narrow"(being a Jazz musician & all). A lotta cool stuff from the '60s 'til present was omitted...NO MENTION OF THE BLUE NOTE ERA?! Or did I blink & miss that?
    Did ya hear the "Wynton-approved"(Crouch, Murray...) talking heads essentially diss Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, & pretty much the rest of the Avant Gard-ers?
    "Tennis Without A Net"?
    ...indeed! ;)

    ...there's some pretty happenin' cats out there besides Metheny(who's LIVE TRIO cds are bad!)& Zawinul.
    James Carter(who was actually on last night's Episode X), Hamid Drake(monster drummer), Dave Holland(STILL!), Ben Allison's Medicine Wheel, John Zorn, William Parker, Matthew Shipp, on & on. It's out there, ya gotta look for it, though. :D
  7. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    More like Marsalis' use of Burns.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I haven't seen it (being in the UK) but feel as if I know what it's like from all the discussions on the net!

    It sounds to me as if they are only concentrating on what might be termed "pure" Jazz that is unadulterated with any other influences. After the 60s of course there was a huge merging of Jazz with other influences like Brazilian, Cuban and African music along with rock and pop music.

    I suppose the question is whether Jazz has ever been "untainted" by other forms of music - this is undoubtedly Wynton's point of view. i.e that you can identify a music that is uniquely "American" and a contribution to music history to rival the "European" classical tradition.

    But Jazz has always been more than this and was going on in Europe siultaneously and Blues and Jazz draw a lot from the African/Carribean musics that a lot of black immigrants and their parents grew up with. That is in no way to undervalue the contribution of the greats in the genre, but I sometimes detect in Wynton a sort of inferiority complex in the face of all the great orchestral music of the past and a need to defend American music more vigorously as a consequence.

    His playing, band leading and compositions should be enough on their own, but never seem to be. I'm still going to see him play next week though - with the Lincoln Jazz Centre Orchestra - but am going to have mixed emotions.
  9. The first poster said it best...Episode X left such a bad taste in my mouth it's not funny.


    1. Miles' move to create fusion was inspired solely out of envy over Sly Stone's big crowds at Newport;

    2. A discussion of Bitches Brew that fails to mention, oh, JOHN McLAUGHLIN!!;

    3. The general criticism of everything Miles did post Brew;

    4. and, worst of all, the complete ignoring of ANY jazz musician playing an electric instrument. In fact, not only were Jaco, Al, Pat, Stanley, Zawinul, etc etc. ignored, but the remainder of the episode focused on St. Wynton Marsalis single-minded determination to save "Acoustic Jazz," a phrase employed incessantly in Part X.

    The total and complete absence of white faces generally was also disturbing. If you think about it, it appears that Goodman, Shaw and Brubeck were only mentioned to get to their "real" accomplishments: interracial bands. Bix Beiderbach is the only white musician mentioned for his skill.

    Like I said in another thread, Burns and Marsalis simply do not want my white, plugged in ass in "their" music.

    Well, too bad. ;)
  10. Was Ornette Coleman covered at all? I missed Monday and Tuesday, so maybe he was in there. I really wanted to see them talk about Free Jazz, but I doubt they did, given the cold reception Cecil Taylor got. I liked the big segment on Coltrane last night though.

    Big Wheel, they did make one reference to Bitches Brew, albeit a passing reference while discussing the whole fusion thing and how Miles essentially "lost control" of his music.

    My friend has them all on tape. Guess I'll have to borrow and watch.
  11. Coleman was covered. Free jazz actually got some time on the show, although it was essentially criticized for dividing the jazz community. B. Marsalis criticized it--when speaking about another artist--as "self-indulgent bull$hit."

    BTW--anyone notice the not-so-subtle accusation that Duke Ellington was gay, or, at least, bi? A lot of "loving" references between him and his songwriting partner. Even Duke's granddaughter signed on for that one.

    Or has this always been known, and is just news to me.

    I don't care, necessarily, but am always troubled by such posthumous revelations.
  12. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    See, guys, I'm not a big jazz aficionado, so I watched many of the series from the point of view of someone who knows little beyond swing and Dixieland. So as I watched the last episode I was no less than SHOCKED at how Miles Davis was made to look after he "contaminated" acoustic jazz with "electronic" instruments. I mean all I'd ever heard about Davis has been good. Jazz fans worship the man. I've seen interviews with Marcus Miller who idolized Davis and Miller plays "electronic" bass. (Where do they sell these electronic basses. Should I buy one?) Nonetheless, this episode made Davis seem like he lived out his final years an embittered failure.

    Another thing that shocked me was that "cats" like Pat Metheney and Al DeMeola were never mentioned. Where was Chic Corea? I mean let's get real. And no Jaco, either. What is up with that? AL DeMeola has been outspoken about the current jazz scene. Why was he never given even one chance to comment? Because he is white? Whatever strengths the early episodes had, to me, that last episode reeked of major suckage. It was as if Ken Burns got rushed, ran out of time and didn't bother to have a minimal amount of checking with outside experts on music. "Electronic" instruments, indeed!

    jason oldsted
  13. Whoa ... you guys sound like stockholders whose stock has hit bottom at a stockholders meeting ... chill out.

    Ken Burns did a good job, not a great job. There were some names that I didn't see mentioned either, but that doesn't mean Ken Burns is an idiot, has an agenda, or whatever.

    For those who are mad because Jaco wasn't mentioned, well, Christian McBride and other bass players were. And those guys were a bigger influence on me personally than Jaco.

    For those who are mad about the treatment of Miles Davis, well, the man was an enigma ... he liked it that way. He changed his style, embraced all of it. Ken Burns treated him as such.

    I enjoyed the series. And this is why. It captured the sheer power, magnificence, charisma, determination, sacrifice, and virtuosity of musicians who played at such a high level of talent, creativity, enthusiasm, and love that to watch and listen to it is inspirational. The very thing that we work towards in our playing. And Ken Burns captured that magic beautifully.

    John Coltrane ... my goodness. I've NEVER heard ANYONE play like that.

    With that said, I'm going to practice. Because next to those cats ... I, well, ..... need to practice.

  14. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    Unfortunately, I missed the part about "A Love Supreme", which is one of my all-time favorite albums. Coltrane knocks me out. I couldn't believe that reference to "electronic bass". That's like talking about Ulysses S. Lee in the Civil War series.

    My tendency is to be generous to Ken Burns, though. He is no jazz expert, and I really get tired of Wynton (only when he talks: I love his playing), but overall I think it was a pretty good series. Remember, we are musicians. There were omissions and mistakes, but it was definitely better than Temptation Island.
  15. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    The "at least McDonalds is better than dog turds on toast" logic that a number of folks espouse is wearing kinda thin. It's just a little more reinforcement for having thrown my TV away a long time ago. I'd rather play F# Maj arpeggios at 30bpm for an hour than even ask what Temptation Island is.
  16. Gumbo, lets all make some gumbo. Bipity bop shoop duwa bodiodo. How did trumpet players talk to each other before Pop's invented scat.
  17. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...well, during the Miles/Fusion segment, we did get to see Larry Graham jamming with Sly @Newport.
    Too, I didn't expect to see Jaco; Hell, Jimmy Blanton wasn't even mentioned & Mingus was only briefly covered.
    ...and I get a kick(still) at those who say Jaco isn't an influence & then go on to name guys that were influenced by Jaco(like McBride; he didn't do "Havona" off of SCI-FIas a tribute to Pastorius? C'mon!).

    Coltrane is by far my favorite musician; hopefully, some of you will dig into what he's about. He has several periods of exploration, so beaware of that(& beware, 'cause his later period albums are out there!).
    A LOVE SUPREME is essential listening; GIANT STEPS is actually pretty approachable, all things considered. IMPRESSIONS(w/ Eric Dolphy...bad); ASCENSION(oughta be in every Free Jazz fan's collection); TRANSITION(the title tune, "Transition", is one of the baddest solos I've ever heard on disc); INTERSTELLAR SPACE('Trane in a duet w/ drummer Rashied Ali...the entire album is ONLY drums & sax).

    Other guys in 'Trane's vibe-
    Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, Albert Ayler.
    Anthony Braxton, Peter Brotzmann, David Murray, David S. Ware, Eric Dolphy, Sam Rivers, Roland Kirk, George Adams, etc are some other players worth checking out.

    ...and Ornette's stuff is totally happenin', too!

    What did you guys make of Cecil Taylor's playing?
    (Taylor is the guy that Branford Marsalis called "self-indulgent, elitist BS").

    [Edited by JimK on 02-01-2001 at 10:22 PM]
  18. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000

    ...there's some pretty happenin' cats out there besides Metheny(who's LIVE TRIO cds are bad!)& Zawinul

    "Bad?" Splane it to me Lucy.

  19. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    "Bad"= damn good(?)...

    Personally, I'm liking both of these recent Metheny Trio discs w/ Stewart & Grenedier a whole lot more than BRIGHT SIZE LIFE.
  20. BaroqueBass


    Jul 8, 2000
    Salem, OR
    Taylor's playing totally blew me away.. especially on that short clip where it was all white and he was wearing that stocking cap. he had an enormous attack

Share This Page