I apparently watch Ken Burns’ documentary Jazz
once every ten years. For whatever reason, it seems that I also take classes on the history of the genre at roughly the same interval. Despite that, though, my two experiences in classroom settings, getting earfuls of individual’s takes on the development of the music and the country we live in, it seems as if the film has supplanted any semblance of text sets.
First entering academia at the tail end of the ‘90s, I was primed to hear as much music via this new fangled thing called the internet as possible. It resulted in hours of jazz being streamed through some pretty dinky computer speakers. Either way, what resulted was a supreme interest in what seemed like the most well articulated expression of the American experience as musicians could muster.