Episode eight — 1945 to 1955 — of Ken Burns’ series finds jazz musicians reflecting the prosperity and tension of the postwar years in their music. Charlie “Bird” Parker garners legions of devoted followers who imitate not only his brilliant soloing, but also his heroin addiction — a problem that will plague jazz through the 1950s.
As the big bands fade, small-group jazz becomes de rigeur: dancing is out and experimentation is in. Dizzy Gillespie infuses bebop with Latin rhythms, employing congero Chano Pozo. And pianist Thelonious Monk creates angular and percussive jazz all his own. Despite this surge in creativity, most people prefer the new, simpler, dance-oriented rhythm & blues of artists like Louis Jordan.
Meanwhile, in California, jazz musicians influence a mellow album featuring the arrangements of Gil Evans and the trumpet of Miles Davis, creating what is soon called “cool” jazz. Dave Brubeck helps lead the charge by recording his million-selling album “Time Out”. But as the ’50s wear on, Davis moves away from cool jazz and begins his own creative journey as the “pied piper” of jazz.
Film will be screened in English.