Set in London in the early 1930s, the five-part miniseries is about a black jazz band trying to crack the dance halls and radio playlists. Critic David Bianculli says this music-centered show features full, unpredictable characters and some exceptionally intriguing performances.
Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and the American Experimental Music by George E. Lewis. The book tracks the history of Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, an organization that promoted the development of new jazz styles.
Film critic Stephen Schiff says Mo' Better Blues, about a trumpet player's struggles balancing his career with his romantic relationships is at best agreeably messy and, at worst, repugnant, especially in its flagrant, anti-Semetic portrayals of Jewish businessmen.
Jazz Critic Kevin Whitehead reviews volumes 6 through 10 of Duke Ellington's "Private Collection," a series featuring previously unreleased Ellington compositions. Kevin says when the first five volumes were released it was a revelation. This new collection isn't quite as brilliant, but it's still a must have for any serious Ellington fan.
Jazz Critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a reissue of the "The Complete Coleman Hawkins," a set of four compact discs that captures highlights of the 1944 recording sessions of the renown tenor saxophonist.
Jazz Critic Kevin Whitehead will review a reissue of the 1959 album, "Ellington Jazz Party." His review includes a discussion of the controversial biography of Duke Ellington by James Lincoln Collier, controversial because Collier alleges that true credit for many of Ellington's most famous tunes belongs to his band members.