Jazz

Gumbo (beginnings to 1917)

black and white photo of a couple dancing to early jazz

Episode #101 / Length: 1 hour, Length: 27 minutes

Jazz is born in the unique musical and social cauldron of New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century, emerging from several forms of music, including ragtime, marching bands, work songs, spirituals, European classical music, funeral parade music and, above all, the blues. Musicians who advance early jazz in New Orleans include Creole pianist and composer Jelly Roll Morton, cornetist Buddy Bolden and clarinet prodigy Sidney Bechet. Composer W.C. Handy codifies the blues through his popular compositions. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band makes the first jazz recordings. Their enormous popularity spreads the sounds of jazz across the country and, eventually, the world. At the end of the episode, viewers meet an 11-year-old New Orleans boy, Louis Armstrong, who will emerge from the city's toughest streets to become jazz music's greatest star and transform American music.

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