Guide to Learning and Loving Jazz

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Jazz Artist George Duke

and his biggest fan. mediagraphy

  • Jazz Definition: "If you have to ask, you'll never know."

    • Louis Armstrong when asked to define the rhythmic concept of "swing", quoted in Jazz 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Jazz by John F. Szwed, 2000. ISBN 0786884967.


Jazz is an art form that touches individual souls worldwide. Rhythms from various international roots have played an influential role in the development of jazz. Blues, swing, Latin, bebop, cool, hard bop, third stream, avant garde, bossa nova, groove jazz, jazz fusion, smooth and contemporary, neo-classic, and vocalists jazz are different types of jazz that have entertained society for decades. Selected works were chosen in order to broaden one’s knowledge about the various components of this creative form of music. Several of the early film works highlight social and political events important to the development of jazz.

This mediagraphy is designed for high school, college and jazz enthusiasts interested in jazz commentary, history, and influential jazz artists.

Students of jazz can learn how jazz evolved and continues to morph as music exemplifies the richness of our culture. Audio, video and print material will assist users in gaining an understanding of the many ways jazz has contributed to the American fine arts. Jazz has a story to tell.

Criteria for selection is based upon resources which connect to the early foundation of jazz as an artform. Prominent jazz artists who significantly guided jazz as we recognize it today are sprinkled throughout this mediagraphy. Rare footage and recordings will provide coverage of early jazz history and current artists such as Chrisette Michelle are included to showcase the latest trends in jazz music. Product ratings were used as evaluative criteria for selecting audio and video sources from commercial sites.

Library of Congress Video and Audio Sources

  • AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Duke Ellington--Reminiscing in Tempo.

  • LC Off-Air Taping Collection

  • Robert Levi Films/WGBH, 1992.

  • Director/Producer: Robert S. Levi; Screenwriters: Robert

  • S. Levi, Geoffrey Ward; Camera: Neil Reichline.

  • Telecast: PBS, February 8, 1992.

  • 89 mins., color, 1/2" videocassette. VAB 9716

  • A chronicle of social change, this film examines Ellington's subtle

  • role in fighting segregation in American society and in challenging

  • the reign of prejudice. It follows his early travels across a

  • landscape of segregation and through the rise of the civil rights

  • movement in the Sixties. As his music crossed over to white

  • audiences, he helped advance the cause of racial equality through

  • an awareness of black heritage. This feature documentary reveals

  • this aspect of Ellington's life through interviews, home movies and

  • rare performance footage.

  • AMERICAN MASTERS. Celebrating Bird--The Triumph of Charlie Parker.

  • LC Off-Air Taping Collection

  • WNET New York/Toby Byron Multiprises/Sony Video Software

  • Co./Pioneer Artists, 1987.

  • Directors: Gary Giddins, Kendrick Simmons; Writer: Gary

  • Giddins; Editor: Kendrick Simmons; Narrator: Ted Ross.

  • Telecast: PBS, July 17, 1989.

  • 58 mins., color/black & white, 3/4" videocassette. VBG 2072

  • A documentary weaving together recordings, interviews, stills and

  • a narrative with the small amount of actual footage of Parker that

  • exists (including a performance of "Hot House" from the 1952

  • television show Stage Entrance). His presence here is heard

  • through his saxophone, almost constantly in the background. The

  • narrative of his life opens up with the memories of those who were

  • close to him: Chan, his commonlaw wife and Rebecca Davis Parker,

  • his first wife, as well as Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Haynes, Jay

  • McShann, Frank Morgan and Roy Porter. Profiles of those who

  • influenced him-- Chu Berry, Jimmy Dorsey, Coleman Hawkins, Johnny

  • Hodges, Ben Webster and Lester Young --appear in vintage footage,

  • stills and music. SEE ALSO Jazz in America. John Birks Dizzy

  • Gillespie.

  • AMERICAN MASTERS. The Long Night of Lady Day.

  • LC Off-Air Taping Collection

  • WNET New York, 1986.

  • Director: John Jeremy; Executive Producers: Susan Lacy, Angus

  • Trowbridge; Producer: Alan Yentob.

  • Telecast: PBS, August 4, 1986.

  • 90 mins., color, 3/4" videocassettes. VBE 1932-33

  • A profile of Billie Holiday combining reminiscences of her

  • associates and friends (Leonard Feather, Milt Gabler, Milt Hinton,

  • Artie Shaw, Sylvia Syms and Alice Vrbsky), mostly uncut

  • performances and film excerpts of "Fine and Mellow" from the CBS

  • television program The Seven Lively Arts. The Sound of Jazz (with

  • Vic Dickenson, Roy Eldridge, Coleman Hawkins, Gerry Mulligan, Ben

  • Webster and Lester Young) and the 1934 Duke Ellington short,

  • Symphony in Black. A clip of "Strange Fruit" closes in on

  • Holiday's expressions and documents the "strange fruit, black

  • bodies swinging from the poplar trees" to emphasize the meaning of

  • the lyrics. SEE ALSO The Seven Lively Arts. The Sound of Jazz and

  • Symphony in Black.

  • AMERICAN MASTERS. Sarah Vaughan--The Divine One.

  • LC Off-Air Taping Collection

  • WNET New York, 1987

  • Executive Producer: Susan Lacy; Producer: Diane Dufault.

  • 57 mins., color, 3/4" videocassette. VBH 6839

  • A documentary covering the life and music of Sarah Vaughan, through

  • film excerpts, concert performances, stills and interviews with

  • friends, colleagues and relatives like Billy Eckstine, George

  • Gaffney, Roy Haynes, Marty Paich, Ade and Paris Vaughan and Joe

  • Williams. Includes the numbers "Body and Soul," "Cherokee" and

  • "The Nearness of You."

  • AMERICAN MASTERS. Satchmo--The Life of Louis Armstrong.

  • LC Off-Air Taping Collection

  • Toby Byron Multiprises/Taurus Film/CBS Movie Video
  • Enterprises/WNET New York, 1989.

  • Directors: Gary Giddins, Kendrick Simmons; Executive

  • Producers: Jerry Durkin, Susan Lacy, Deborah Newman;

  • Producer: Toby Byron; Writer: Gary Giddins;

  • Photographers: John Bishop, Herbert Forsberg.

  • Telecast: PBS, July 31, 1989.

  • 87 mins., color, 3/4" videocassettes. VBG 2087-88

  • This documentary combines a dozen of Armstrong's film excerpts

  • (from Atlantic City, a Betty Boop cartoon, Going Places, Hello

  • Dolly, High Society, Jam Session, New Orleans and Pennies from

  • Heaven), numerous concert and television appearances (some with

  • Dizzy Gillespie and Jack Teagarden), never-before-seen home movies

  • and newly-discovered Chicago nightclub footage from 1935.

  • Reminiscences by Armstrong and interviews with his colleagues

  • (George Avakian, Tony Bennett, Lester Bowie, Dave and Iola Brubeck,

  • Doc Cheatham, Barrett Deems, Bud Freeman, Milt Gabler, Dexter

  • Gordon, Milt Hinton, Wynton Marsalis, Joe Muranyi, Marty Napoleon,

  • Zilner Randolph and Arvell Shaw) give the feeling of a present-

  • tense encounter with him. Includes "Blue Turning Grey," "Heebie

  • Jeebies," "Mack the Knife," "On the Sunny Side of the Street,"

  • "Potato Head Blues," "Struttin' with Some Barbecue," "Weather

  • Bird," "West End Blues," "What a Wonderful World" and "When You're

  • Smiling."


Copyright Collection

Kennedy Center Television Productions, Inc., 1981.

Director: Dwight Hemion; Presenters: George Stevens, Jr., Nick


120 mins., color, 3/4" videocassettes. VBJ 0870-72

Count Basie is honored, along with Cary Grant, Helen Hayes, Jerome

Robbins, Rudolf Serkin.


Copyright Collection

TVI, Inc./Moonbase Productions, 1984.

Director: Phil Olsman; Producer: Bill Browne.

55 mins., color, 3/4" videocassette. VBK 4929

A jazz concert featuring Sarah Vaughan, with a special appearance

by Joe Williams.
60 MINUTES. Vol. 11, No. 1.

Copyright Collection

CBS News, 1978.

Telecast: CBS, September 17, 1978.

60 mins., color, 3/4" videocassette. VBA 5021

Includes a segment devoted to Eubie Blake.

60 MINUTES. Vol. 11, No. 20.

Copyright Collection

CBS News, 1979.

Telecast: CBS, January 28, 1979.

60 mins., color, 3/4" videocassette. VBA 5040

Includes a segment devoted to Count Basie.


Copyright Collection

Fredericksen, 1990.

Director/Producer: Bruce Fredericksen.

110 mins., color/black & white, 1/2" videocassette. VAB 6261

This portrait of Lester "Prez" Young is composed of a collection of

still photographs, film excerpts and dramatizations of his life

from childhood through his career. His daughter, Beverly, retells

the stories of her father's life, while recalling famous jazz

figures. Commentary from Count Basie, Red Callender, "Sweets"

Edison, Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie, Norman Granz, John Hammond,

Jon Hendricks, Jo Jones, Connie Kay and Andy Kirk, in interviews

past and present, reveal the esteem in which his peers held him.

LC Purchase Collection

London Weekend Television, Ltd., 1986.

Director: Kim Evans; Producers: Melvyn Bragg, Kim Evans;

Editor: Melvyn Bragg.

Telecast: February 16, 1986 (England).

53 mins., color, 3/4" videocassette. VBH 0394

This episode of the arts series tells the story of the Blue Note

record label, run for twenty-five years by two German emigres,

Alfred Lion and Frank Wolff. Their commitment ensured the highest

standards in performing sound quality and sleeve design for such

artists as Sidney Bechet, Art Blakey, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis,

Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver, among many others. Interviews

with Alfred Lion, engineer Rudy Van Gelder and designer Reid Miles,

as well as with musicians Silver, Wayne Shorter and McCoy Tyner

intermingle with performances on film from Albert Ammons and Meade

Lux Lewis (the first Blue Note artists) to the latest avant-garde

music of Cecil Taylor.

SWINGTIME VIDEO. No. 112, Meet the Bandleaders--Shaw, Teagarden,

Calloway, Ellington, Raeburn.

Copyright Collection

Swingtime Video, 1985.

Producer: Wally Heider.

47 mins., black & white, 1/2" videocassettes. VAA 4761

Artie Shaw and his Orchestra play "I Have Eyes" (with Helen

Forrest), "Shoot the Likker to Me, John Boy" and "Table d'Hote."

Jack Teagarden and his Orchestra perform "Stardust" (with Hoagy

Carmichael and Charlie Spivak), "That's Right, I'm Wrong" (with

Meredith Blake), "Two Sleepy People" and "Washboard Blues-Lazy

Bones-Small Fry-Rockin' Chair Medley." Both date from 1939. Cab

Calloway and his Orchestra in Harlem culture-filled 1935 shorts

feature "Hotcha-Razz-Ma-Tazz," "Jitterbug" and "Long About

Midnight." Duke Ellington and his Orchestra execute "Don't Get

Around Much Anymore" (with Johnny Hodges and "Tricky Sam" Nanton),

"It Don't Mean a Thing" (with Ray Nance, Taft Jordan, Nanton and

Ben Webster), "Mood Indigo" and "Sophisticated Lady" in a 1943

short. From 1947, Boyd Raeburn and his Orchestra realize

"Ballerina" (with Teddy Walters), "St. Louis Blues" (with Ginny

Powell) and "Temptation."
SWINGTIME VIDEO. No. 116, Meet the Small Bands--Count Basie and

his Sextet, Cab Calloway and his Cabaliers, The Four Freshmen, The

George Shearing Quintet.

Copyright Collction

Swingtime Video, 1985.

Producer: Wally Heider.

52 mins., black & white, 1/2" videocassette. VAA 4752

All of the footage has been culled from 1950 music shorts, with the

exception of the Four Freshmen, from 1952. Count Basie's economic

experiment lasting only a year featured Buddy DeFranco, Wardell

Gray, Freddie Green, Jimmy Lewis and Clark Terry. Here they

perform "Basie Boogie," "Basie's Conversation," "I Cried for You"

and "One O'Clock Jump." Cab Calloway's similar experiment included

Panama Francis, Milt Hinton, Jonah Jones and Dave Rivera, here

playing the numbers "Calloway Boogie," "I Can't Give You Anything

But Love," "Minnie the Moocher," "One for My Baby" and "St. James

Infirmary." The Four Freshmen, featuring Don Barber, Ross Barber,

Bob Flanigan and Hal Kratzsch, appear in three scenes. The George

Shearing Quintet, with Denzil Best, John Levy, Joe Roland and Chuck

Wayne, perform "Conception," "I'll Be Around," "I'll Never Smile

Again," "Move" and "Swedish Pastry."

SWINGTIME VIDEO. No. 117, Meet the Singers Vol. 1--Nat "King"

Cole, Sarah Vaughan, Herb Jeffries.

Copyright Collection

Swingtime Video, 1985.

Producer: Wally Heider.

48 mins., black & white, 1/2" videocassette. VAA 4749

Nat "King" Cole and his Trio (Irving Ashby, Joe Comfort and Jack

Costanzo) from 1950 - 1952 perform "Little Girl," "Nature Boy,"

"Route 66" and "Sweet Lorraine." Sarah Vaughan sings "The Nearness

of You," "You're Mine, You" and "You're Not the King" from 1951,

with George Treadwell accompanying her. Herb Jeffries performs

four standards: "Baby, Won't You Please Come Home" (with a clarinet

solo by Marshall Royal), "Basin Street Blues" (with the street

cries of the recording used to lure him outdoors to sing in a dark

baritone), "Solitude" and "When I Write My Song."

SWINGTIME VIDEO. No. 119, Meet the Singers Vol. 2--Peggy Lee, Mel

Torme, June Christy.

Copyright Collection

Swingtime Video, 1985.

Producer: Wally Heider.

54 mins., black & white, 1/2" videocassette. VAA 4750

Peggy Lee, accompanied by her then husband, guitarist Dave Barbour,

and a rhythm section that features pianist Hal Schaefer, offers "I

Don't Know Enough About You," "I Only Have Eyes for You," "It's a

Good Day," "Manana," "What More Can a Woman Do?," "While We Were

Young," "Why Don't You Do Right" and "You Was Right, Baby." Mel

Torme performs the standards "April Showers," "You Ought to Be in

Pictures" and his original "Trouble Is a Girl," with accompaniment

by Al Pellegrini on piano and Tommy Tedesco on guitar. June

Christy sings "All God's Chillun," "He's Funny That Way" and

"Imagination" with the Ernie Felice Quartet and pianist Claude

Williamson. All performances were filmed in 1950.

JAZZ CASUAL. Dizzy Gillespie Quintet.

Copyright Collection

KQED for National Educational Television, 1963.

Director: Richard Moore; Producers: Ralph Gleason, Dick


Telecast: NET, April 3, 1963.

29 mins., black & white, 1/2" videocassette. VAB 9169

A program of music (with an excerpt of "Gillespiana") and a

discussion centering on composing, arranging and blues as the basis

of jazz. Gillespie demonstrates how he combines instrumental

techniques with feeling. Personnel: Robert Cunningham, Gillespie,

Chuck Lamplin, Lalo Schifrin and Leo Wright. Hosted by Ralph


Video and Audio Resources
I Am by Chrisette Michelle


$10.99 ASIN: B000Q364KG

Release Date: June 19, 2007 Def Jam Label

Chrisette Michele is grand. She possesses a timeless sound and already has held her own while working with musical heavyweights: Appearing on the chorus on Jay-Z's "Lost Ones" and a handful of hooks on Nas' "Hip-Hop is Dead," Michele's jazzy vibrato endowed those tracks with the element most rappers try to capture by sampling old-school tracks.

On her debut album "I Am," Michele, who co-wrote every track, does an exceptional job of traversing the "then" and "now." On "Good Girl," the twentysomething Long Island native tackles what makes a man golden - cash falling short of conversation - like a Strong Island version of Lady Day.

Michele's voice resonates when poured over a gritty beat, such as on "Let's Rock"; sounds rich on the bossa nova-inspired "Best of Me"; and soothes on the acoustic-driven and lullaby-ish "Your Joy."

On "Be OK," produced by and featuring of The Black Eyed Peas, Michele sings "Imma take my Lexus to the mall, Get a little black dress just because," but the song is less about retail therapy, and more about finding a new start after losing an old lover.

Chrisette Michele establishes herself, not as a superior version of the R&B singers already on the scene, but as the kind of artist who is, quite possibly, one-of-a-kind. ~ Melanie Sims, Associated Press

CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: The rich violin backdrop on "Let's Rock" conjures up something from an old Western - but in a good way! Michele's query: "Wanna rock with the Chris on the microphone? I was studying Miss Billie, Miss Ella, Miss Sarah Vaughan," says loads about where she's coming from.

Chrisette Michele may be signed to hip-hop label Def Jam and she may have sung hooks in the past on songs by the rappers Nas and Jay-Z, but she proves on her debut album, I Am, that she's definitely an R&B artist through-and-through. Chrisette, whose singing style evokes comparisons to Erykah Badu, Billie Holiday and Jill Scott, has put together an album that contains the fresh, sunny optimism of the young, but is wrapped in an old-school sound, style and sensibility.~Mark Edward Nero, R&B

Ladies Sing the Blues(DVD) Black and White format


$17.99 ASIN: B000050SLK

Release Date: October 30, 2001

This acclaimed compilation brings together full-length, rare performances from the great ladies of song: Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Peggy Lee, Lena Horne, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan and Ethel Waters. Hailed by Entertainment Weekly as "a grand parade of American miracles," "Ladies" captures the excitement of the most distinctive female vocalists in Jazz. ~ Owen McNally, The Hartford Courant-March 8, 1990

The most moving vignette shows Billie Holiday... a clip that records one of the greatest moments jazz has ever had…

Airto & Flora Purim:The Latin Jazz All-Stars (DVD)

$19.99 ASIN: B000GAKE00

Release Date: June 26, 2006
"This is one great program." - Jazziz Magazine

This concert performance was recorded while Airto and Flora Purim played at one of the Queen Mary Jazz Festivals. Master percussionist Airto Moreira pours his talents into this mix of Brazilian music that frequently makes audiences jump to their feet and start dancing. Flora Purim, a multi-octave vocalist, provides viewers with a sampling of tunes that fully compliment her voice. Sax great Joe Farrell regularly joins in, further enlivening the percussive sets.

~ Elizabeth Smith, NYTimes

Joe Williams with George Shearing: A Song is Born (DVD)


$19.98 ASIN: B0002YAX70

Release Date: August 25, 2004

"...This is classic Joe Williams...people who like their jazz smooth will especially enjoy..."- Jazz Notes

Simply because Joe Williams is -- as the latest Down Beat critics' poll indicates -- the preeminent male jazz vocalist working today, the release of his first new video in nearly a decade is an event. Whether caressing the words of the ballad ''A Child Is Born'' or taking a more astringent, declamatory approach on his tour de force, ''The Comeback,'' Williams' musical instincts are unerring. You can overlook the roughness that, at age 73, occasionally crops up in Williams' voice on this tape (a live performance at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, Calif.). Harder to overlook, though, is the incongruously genteel piano accompaniment of George Shearing, which undermines the impact of Williams' exuberantly sexual blues numbers. Pairing Williams with Jay McShann, Gene Harris, or the Basie Band would pack greater wallop. But this tape will have to do, until the real thing comes along. ~Chip Deffaa, Entertainment Weekly

Nancy Wilson At Carnegie Hall (DVD)

Barnes and Noble

$24.99 UPC: 033909231794

Release Date: 1989

Nancy Wilson makes every song uniquely her own. This 1987 JVC Jazz Festival concert, taped at New York's famed Carnegie Hall, showcases her distinctive amalgam of sensitive phrasing, secure intonation, and strong Jazz feeling. Featured are duets with Carl Anderson. JazzTimes reported: "...this is a flawless video, both technically and artistically."
"Her intonation is faultless, her pulse sure and deft turning of a phrase emotionally convincing." - The Washington Post

The Verve Story, 1944-1994 (Box Set 4 CDs)


$50.98 ASIN: B0000046TS

Release Date: March 22, 1994 Verve Music Group
For his tireless, effective, and classy promotion of first-rate musicians, Norma Granz must surely be one of the great cultural influences of our century, even if no one but jazz types know of him. More admirable (because courageous and selfless)is that he absolutely forbade racial segregation in his audiences and for his musicians. Granz was famous for making sure that ALL his musicians received first-class treatment, without distinction.

And what first-class music his people made! From the "Jazz at the Philharmonic" series to his long tenure with Verve (which he founded), Granz brought together the very, very best jazz musicians, under the best conditions, and let them play what moved them.

This collection is a fine, fine introduction to what Granz accomplished--and extraordinarily fun to hear.

If you're looking for a great intro to jazz, you could do worse than to start here. (For pedagogical purposes, Ken Burns' five-CD set, "The Story of America's Music," is more comprehensive, and it has much to commend it. Listening to that set, though, requires an interest in being educated, as much as an interest in listening to jazz--some of the discs are jarringly uneven in tone, mood, style, and sound quality. ~Bob Francher

Jazz Film Series 2000
For the fifth year in a row, the Library is presenting a series of films in January about major jazz figures in its Mary Pickford Theater.

Jazz in Film Bibliography – Performing Arts Encyclopedia (Library of Congress)

Annotated guide to over 600 jazz performances on film and video in the collections of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.


Jazz on the Screen: A Jazz and Blues Filmography by David Meeker.

This searchable filmography documents the work of some 1,000 major jazz and blues figures in over 14,000 cinema, television and video productions. The ...

Musical Living Legends (December 2003)- Library of Congress Information Bulletin

When James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress, bestowed the Living Legend Award on jazz pianist Dave Brubeck and folksinger Odetta, on Oct. 1 and Nov. 13, respectively, they were the latest in a succession of ...


Pearl Bailey collection-Performing Arts Encyclopedia

Papers, photos and recordings of the unique entertainer and singer.
Photographs from the Golden Age of Jazz: Selected Bibliography

More than 1,600 photographs of many of the greatest names in jazz are now available online in "William P. Gottlieb: Photographs from the Golden Age of Jazz."


Rare Jazz Film Series (September 30, 1996) - Library of Congress Information Bulletin

On Oct. 17, jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald is featured in the first of a free series of rarely seen jazz films and videos that will be shown through Dec. 19 in the Mary Pickford Theater.


Jazz Music” created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson is a plethora of information relating to jazz music. Included is a vocabulary grid with links which educators will find useful.
Jazz What a Wonderful World” This site provides links to other resources that will support student learning.
Jazz Radio Program: A Webquest for High School Jazz Band Students” challenges students to develop and hour long jazz radio program on various jazz styles.


Song of the spirit. produced and directed by Bruce Fredericksen.

LC Control No.:



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__ |9 (DLC) 91792450


__ |a 0 |b ibc |c orignew |d u |e ncip |f 19 |g y-movingim


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__ |a DLC |c DLC |e amim


00 |a VAB 6261 (viewing copy)


00 |a Song of the spirit. |p The story of Lester Young / |c produced and directed by Bruce Fredericksen.


__ |c 1990.


__ |a 1 videocassette of 1 (VHS) (1:50 min.) : |b sd., col. and b&w ; |c 1/2 in. viewing copy.


__ |a Copyright notice on film: Bruce Fredericksen 1988.


__ |a Reference source used: descriptive materials.


__ |d Received: 10-2-91; |3 viewing copy; |c copyright deposit--407; |a Copyright Collection.


2_ |a Copyright Collection (Library of Congress) |5 DLC


0_ |a Story of Lester Young.


__ |a TE01


__ |a qxp


__ |b c-MP&TV |h VAB 6261 (viewing copy) |w MUMS VM File


VAB 6261 (viewing copy)

-- Request in:

Motion Picture/TV Reading Rm. By Appointment (Madison LM336)

-- Status:

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Created by Debra Johnson

3 July 2007

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