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Comment: KEN BURNS' JAZZ: THE COMPLETE PBS SERIES (Rare "PBS GOLD Edition Box Set") (10 DVD Set) outer box has some wear on the edges and corners. DVDs, Cases & covers are in very good shape. Original "Region 1" DVD Release (USA/Canada edition,w ith the same packaging as shown above) We have this in stock (Here in Toronto) and ready to ship!
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Ken Burns' Jazz (Full Screen)

3.7 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 107.26
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Product Details

  • Actors: Keith David, Charles J. Correll, Freeman F. Gosden, Edward R. Murrow, Richard Nixon
  • Format: Box set, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 10
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: PBS / Warner Home Video
  • Release Date: Jan. 2 2001
  • Run Time: 1140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00004XQOU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #56,565 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

The story, sound, and soul of a nation come together in the most American of art forms: Jazz. Ken Burns, who riveted the nation with The Civil War and Baseball, celebrates the music's soaring achievements, from its origins in blues and ragtime through swing, bebop, and fusion. Six years in the making, this "soundbreaking" series blends 75 interviews, more than 500 pieces of music, 2,400 still photographs, and over 2,000 rare and archival film clips. The 10-part musical journey spotlights many of America's most original, creative--and tragic--figures, including Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis. Special features of the PBS DVD Gold include bonus performances and The Making of Jazz documentary.


Accompanied by a menagerie of products, Ken Burns's expansive 10-episode paean, Jazz, completes his trilogy on American culture, following The Civil War and Baseball. Spanning more than 19 hours, Jazz is, of course, about a lot more than what many have called America's classical music--especially in episodes 1 through 7. It's here that Burns unearths precious visual images of jazz musicians and hangs historical narratives around the music with convincing authority. Time can stand still as images float past to the sound of grainy vintage jazz, and the drama of a phonograph needle being placed on Louis Armstrong's celestial "West End Blues" is nearly sublime.

The film is also potent in arguing that the history of race in the 20th-century U.S. is at jazz's heart. But a few problems arise. First is Burns's reliance on Wynton Marsalis as his chief musical commentator. Marsalis might be charming and musically expert, but he's no historian. For the film to devote three of its episodes to the 1930s, one expects a bit more historical substance. Also, Jazz condenses the period of 1961 to the present into one episode, glossing over some of the music's giant steps. Burns has said repeatedly that he didn't know much about jazz when he began this project. So perhaps Jazz, for all its glory, would better be called Jazz: What I've Learned Since I Started Listening (And I Haven't Gotten Much Past 1961). For those who are already passionate about jazz, the film will stoke debate (and some derision, together with some reluctant praise). But for everyone else, it will amaze and entertain and kindle a flame for some of the greatest music ever dreamed. --Andrew Bartlett

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Jazz is a relatively recent interest for me--maybe half a dozen years. I'd learned about scattered fragments of jazz, but never developed a systematic understanding, a clear orientation--though a couple of times I'd tried: I bought Gary Giddons' "Visions of Jazz," for instance, which is very good but just didn't capture my imagination.
Ken Burns' "Jazz" gave me what I've been wanting for years--a clear, evocative, comprehensive way into the genre as a whole.
Okay, it may not be the last word on the history of jazz. Yeah, some things really irritated me--like the slighting, mentioned by many, of Bill Evans, and the excessive excision of many white musicians to make the generally accurate point that jazz springs more from the experience of Black Americans. (Hint to Burns: You make your argument stronger by showing how apparently contrary data fit, not by leaving them out.) But over all, I found this a very helpful overview. And I enjoyed getting to know the biographies of, and the personal relations among, the players.
You won't likely get such an orientation from buying a few of the original CDs *instead* of the "Jazz" series. Few of us have the ears or training to discern what's taught in this series. You'd be highly unlikely to realize that, for instance, what was new with Be-Bop is improvising on the underlying chord changes rather than the melody. You'd really have to be perceptive and paying attention to notice what distinguishes Kansas City jazz from New Orleans jazz from New York jazz from West Coast jazz. And *no* album can place *itself* in history. For instance, you cannot learn from listening to an album featuring Coleman Hawkins-or Charlie Christian or Kenny Clarke--that *before* that album people played very differently.
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By A Customer on July 6 2004
Format: DVD
It's surprizing how vociferously some "snobs" condemn "Jazz" simply because it's not as comprehensive as they seem to think it should be. From reading these reviews you would think Ken Burns is a half-step above a holocaust-denier for not including Roland Kirk or Eric Dolphy. "Jazz" is a wonderful, inspiring and, yes, traditional look at the art form. Newcomers shouldn't be dissuaded because it's not as complete as it should be.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Incredibly informative and entertaining - my view from the first DVD in the series.
I wish this would have been available when my Dad was still with us. He would have enjoyed it
even more than I.
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Format: DVD
As with others, I found the reliance on the opinions of Stanley Crouch and Wynton Marsalis to be the undoing of the entire thing. The reason Bill Evans was completely glossed over is precisely because Stanley Crouch considered him "a punk" who "could not swing". Imagine: The greatest pianist, jazz or otherwise, who has ever lived virtually excluded because of Crouch! Burns does make some mention of Evans in the book, rightly referring to him as "the most influential jazz pianist". But where's the beef? Heck, you could do a documentary solely on Evans! But not while Crouch and Marsalis are given to America as the spokesmen for "what is jazz". They really represent what is wrong with jazz, or at least the general public's perception of it via this series. As Miles Davis said of Marsalis' verbosity, "Who asked him?"
You can learn all you need to know about the art of jazz by reading Bill Evans' liner notes on "Kind of Blue". Then, just listen with your soul. In a hundred years, Crouch and Marsalis will be on the ash heap of history and the true giants of jazz - Davis, Evans, Coltrane, Lateef, Monk, Shorter, Getz, et al, will live on. God bless them all.
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Format: DVD
It's interesting that the majority of positive reviews, here and elsewhere, come from people who A) confess that they are relative newcomers to the music, and B) find space to take potshots at jazz "snobs" who don't like the series. Well, derogatory word or not, shouldn't a snob or elitist have a better idea of whether this film does justice to its subject?
Let's pretend that I don't know the first thing about the Kennedy assasination; in fact, let's say I didn't even know he was shot. Until I see Stone's JFK movie. And then when people who have explored the story for years start poking holes in Stone's account, I dismiss them as snobs. Or let's say I've watched Tammy and the T-Rex and I start going on about how realistic it is, and I shoot down any scientific or cinematographic objections as elitist party-pooping....
Look, this is not a great film, and the jazz-initiated needn't apologize for saying so. You've got a filmmaker who didn't know the slightest thing about the music when he started, and who relied heavily on the biased ear-whisperings of two of the most conservative, narrow jazz spokesmen you could find. If you want a lengthy bio of Louis Armstrong, it's here. If you want to learn about the Blues, you will. But if you want an in-depth look at what happens in bop, post-bop, free jazz, and early fusion, you won't learn much, if anything. You may walk away thinking that Elvin Jones played on Giant Steps, that Cecil Taylor was a charlatan, that "Hello Dolly" is more worthy of discussion than any of the high water marks of the 1960s, that there was only one true jazz record released in the 1970s. I mean, the more I think about this, the worse it gets.
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