euphbass (euphbass) wrote,

1959: The Year That Changed Jazz

Just watched another BBC Four programme on iPlayer entitled !959: The Year That Changed Jazz. It was focussing on four influential albums of that year that changed the direction of jazz music: Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, Dave Brubeck's Time Out, Charles Mingus' Mingus Ah Um and Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz To Come.

Three of these we've got, but not The Shape of Jazz To Come. It's also the most radical and difficult to get in to.

The four are all very different from each other, and also from the existing jazz of the time. I like the three we have for all different reasons! I think I'd struggle with the Coleman - it seems impenetrable, but there are echoes of it in a lot of modern jazz, so I guess it has been influential. For example, one of the short clips from it reminded me of one of the tracks on Paul Towndrow's album, Six By Six.

I loved the cinematography in this programme in particular. Very interesting - a lot of scenes of America around that year, and interesting original footage of the performers interspersed. There was a very strange sequence with Charles Mingus getting the bass out and playing mixed up with scenes of him getting a rifle out and shooting it! There were also scenes of civil rights footage and white people abusing black people that made me very angry that people could be like that, related to the track Fables of Faubus on the Mingus album, inspired by Governor Faubus' refusal to desegregate a school in his state despite the High Court ruling.

Worth watching indeed (if you can get iPlayer - UK only I'm afraid).
Tags: bbc, dave brubeck, miles davis, mingus, ornette coleman, tv
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