[Dixielandjazz] "Jazz" tunes

Dan Augustine ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu
Thu Feb 20 20:54:52 PST 2003

     Well, hell, i wasn't going to write about this until i had it 
done, but a) the plain (text) of our discussion is pretty fallow 
right now, and b) i may forget.
     About a month ago i started watching my tapes of Ken Burns' 
_Jazz_ series that aired two years ago, much to our (and my) yelping. 
I had excoriated its premises, its assumptions, and what still 
appears to me its racism, but i've also been reading a number of 
jazz-history books and am more familiar with the early years now, and 
wanted to see it again, whether to pat myself on the back for being 
broad-minded or to load up with more ammunition for a more direct 
assault on the parade at its southernmost ramparts--might be a pun in 
there somewhere, i'll wager--i don't know.
     Anyway, it's actually mostly pretty good in what it does say, but 
still maddeningly obtuse about what it leaves out (thanks to the 
panel of 'experts' it hired, i'm sure).  On the other hand, some of 
the stories of the individuals (like the black 12-year-old girl being 
asked to dance in the Savoy ballroom) brought tears to my eyes.
     But what was frustrating to me was not knowing what music was 
playing in the background while the film was running.  Most of it was 
great, but it was never labeled while it was playing, so at the end 
of each episode i ran (and was running, two years later) the 
videotape slowly through the credits at the end to see what songs 
were being played.  And i was writing them down, if they seemed 
interesting or likely.  Then i'm going to go buy recordings with 
those songs. Yeah, i bought the 5-disc CD-set of "Ken Burns Jazz", 
but it didn't have all the good stuff i heard in the video.
     Well (do we take longer to come to the point the older we get?), 
i'm telling you now that all those tunes are available on the pbs.org 
website for each episode, although it still doesn't tell you what 
tune played with what video.  And there's a lot of tunes in each 
episode, so what i did was to save each webpage 
(http://www.pbs.org/jazz/beat/discography_series_by_artist.htm) so i 
could have a list of all the tunes.  In fact, i've even started 
compiling all the tunes in all the episodes into an Excel 
spreadsheet, but i've only got the first episode done so far (takes 
too much time and i have no reason to do it).
     So.  There it is.  Oh, by the way: before i discoved the list of 
tunes on the website, i bought a copy of _Jazz_ (the book), which i 
found used for $11.00 (a $65.00, 490-page book with lots of 
photographs; got it through Amazon.com, as i recall).

**  Dan Augustine -- ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu -- Austin, Texas   **
**  "The less a science is advanced, the more its terminology tends  **
**   to rest on an uncritical assumption of mutual understanding."   **
**             -- Willard V. Quine in _Word and Object_              **

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