Louis Armstrong was the first true pioneer of jazz, ripping down racial barriers as he confounded musical norms.
But his influence dwindles in comparison to the be-bop generation, which didn’t just change the face of jazz, but is integral to everything that followed, from Sixties psychedelia to the contemporary minimalist compositions of Philip Glass.
From the Forties to the mid-Sixties a troop of musical innovators were taking America by storm. Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk were leading the charge on America’s consciousness, and are the focus of the second instalment of this documentary series covering the history of jazz.
Over the 180 minutes, aural treats from slow, hypnotic sax solos to bursts of frantic Eastern European clarinet are served up. But the most memorable moment is Charlie Parker’s death, leaving a 34-years-old junk wasted body, estimated by the coroner to be about 60-years-old.
A worthy, well informed introduction.