America's Blues (01:24:46)This program explores the impact the blues has had American society, culture, and the entertainment industry. Despite influencing nearly every form of American music, literature, television, film, and other art forms, its contributions often go unrecognized. Historians, performers, and artists discuss the origin of the blues and how it has evolved. Blues today only accounts for a small part of the music market, but it developed its own tourism industry and remains strong in pockets of the U.S. and Europe.
Duke Ellington: Swing Era—In Hollywood (01:03:13)This video compiles various short- and medium-length films starring the great Duke Ellington and his orchestra, including Black and Tan from 1929; Symphony in Black from 1935—featuring the famous sequence with Billie Holiday; and three scenes starring Mae West in Belle of the Nineties from 1934, among many other musical sequences from major motion pictures.
Ken Burns Jazz Series (10 Titles)A study and celebration of America’s greatest original art form, Ken Burns’s ten-part documentary series opens at the dawn of the 20th century and crosses the decades with the exuberance and expressive power of jazz itself. Each episode sheds light on cultural and historical milestones as it introduces viewers to the unforgettable names and accomplishments of the music. From the cradle of New Orleans to the crucibles of Chicago and New York City… from the Harlem Renaissance to the Great Depression to World War II and beyond… Jazz paints an astonishing portrait of a nation and the sound that both captured and set free its spirit.
Making Music: Conversations with Composer/Musicians (21:00)Between the two of them, Wynton Marsalis and B.B. King have jazz, classical music, and the blues covered. What are these towering composer/musicians like as writers and performers—and as people? This NewsHour program shares a few moments of their lives to look deeper.
TEDTalks: Charles Limb—Your Brain on Improv (17:00)Musician and researcher Charles Limb wondered how the brain works during musical improvisation, so he put jazz musicians and rappers in an fMRI to find out. What he and his team found has deep implications for our understanding of creativity of all kinds.
Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues (58:00)With dozens of rare renditions of early blues songs, this program looks at the careers of Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter, Ethel Waters and other legendary women who together helped to establish the blues as a vital part of America’s cultural legacy.