Masters of American Music: The Story of Jazz

Masters of American Music is an award-winning television series of ten shows that celebrate a pantheon of the greatest innovators in Jazz. Both the video and audio content now has been restored and remastered in accordance with state-of-the-art specifications, employing award-winning tools exclusively for this production. Produced by Toby Byron, it was the first TV series devoted to Jazz. Individual programmes trace the lives and works of master musicians who defined the course of America's classical music. From its birth in New Orleans, to swing, the big bands, bebop, free Jazz and beyond: all of it is explored with sensitivity and in unique depth. The Story of Jazz puts the crown on the Masters of American series. As entertaining as it is informative, it is a seamless array of performances, comments, and compelling historic insight. Many call Jazz the greatest art form of the 20th century. The Story of Jazz is a colorful tale of cross-cultural influences that produced a constantly evolving and enduring music. It is a rich 97-minute weave of sounds, rare film clips, stills and interviews. This absorbing mix of sights and sounds shows how this truly American expression spread to become the universal language. A captivating trek through the stylistic changes that have kept jazz so fresh for all these years: New Orleans traditions, Stride, Swing, Boogie Woogie, Big Band, Jump Band, the singers, the dancers, the blues, Bebop, Afro-Cuban, Cool, Free-form… it’s all here. Never before have the filmed comments of so many important jazz artists been assembled for one project, and never before has the history of jazz been told as vividly and with such attention to historic detail. Personal first-hand observations of dozens of great jazz artists— Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett, Lester Bowie, Dave Brubeck, Joe Williams, Buck Clayton, Illinois Jacquet, Zilner Randolph, Bud Freeman, Randy Weston, Carmen McRae, Billy Taylor, Jay McShann, Roy Haynes, Billy Eckstine and many others. Narrated by Lloyd Richards.


Swing Journal’s Best Music Program of the Year (Japan), 1995










Matthew Seig


Directed by Matthew Seig; written by Chris Albertson with Matthew Seig; Produced by Toby Byron


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