Project #62648 - history of jazz

For your original post, write about one piece of information from any of the documentary excerpts that you believe merit further discussion in this forum (and is important toward understanding the issues of segregation or racism and swing jazz).  Make sure the information you choose to write about is connected somehow to swing jazz.  (There are lots of other interesting and alarming facts in these documentary excerpts but you should focus on the ones that are connected somehow to swing jazz since we’re in History of Jazz class!)


  • Identify the documentary chapter (by title and chapter number) that your information is from
  • Clearly describe the information that you found to be important in understanding the issues of segregation or racism and swing jazz.
  • Describe why you felt it was important for everyone to read/see this information



Do this one :

Documentary Clip 1
Please view Chapter 20 (“A Reason for Living – Duke Ellington”) from the documentary Jazz by Ken Burns (Part 6) at the link below.  This is a good introduction to the reading Jazz in Germany that you will be completing for Assignment 8. 

Link to Documentary Jazz (Part 6) – View Chapter 20 (“A Reason for Living – Duke Ellington”) (Links to an external site.) :

 lastname : widianto

id : 985861891



  • In this chapter, notice how popular American jazz was in Europe except for in Nazi Germany.  Duke Ellington’s band had to stay on the train as it passed through Germany

  • Note the German propaganda poster with the black saxophone player with the Jewish Star of David on his lapel.  (The Jewish person they were referring to was the immensely popular Benny Goodman.)


Comment other people : 

1st : Documentary Clip 6

Chapter 18-These Things Can't Happen.

Dave Brubeck, a famous jazz pianist fought against racism. When Dave was young, Dave and his father met a black man in California. He was the first black man ever met. Dave's father asked the black man to unbutton his shirt. What Dave saw shocked him. There was a brand in this black man chest. I think this is the moment when Dave realised that he need to change something. During the world war Dave was about to be sent as the front man in Europe, but his talent kept him away from it. Dave was asked to form a band. In this band there are no segregation. The black play music and even slept together with the whites. When the war in Europe was finally over, Dave went back to United States and he surprised that nothing has changed. The black can't even eat together with the whites.

It is important for us to know that jazz isn't just a music. Jazz in the Dave's hand became a tools to integrate the blacks and the whites. and Dave isn't just a musician, he fought for humanity and racial equality. Jazz is a symbol of freedom.


2nd : Documentary Clip 1

Chapter 20-- A Reason for Living Duke Ellington

Duke's experience was really dramatic. His orchestra made huge successful in Europe and America but failed in German, even he didn't got a chance to perform. In  German's eyes, jazz music is an alien culture, a kind of "negro Jew music". Obviously this is racism. Therefore Germany banned Duke's band play in German. They expel the orchestra and showed hostility to the jazz musician, especially the black people.

I felt important for everyone to read this information is because music culture shouldn't have border. It's a kind of art. However during that time, when jazz just overcome the prejudice between black and white then refused by Germany. Maybe that's why jazz turn into a spirit of America. Its past is tough but still overcome these difficulties.  In the end, Jazz together all the people, vanished the segregation 


3rd ; Chapter 18: These Things Can't Happen

During the time, swing jazz brings the feeling of freedom. Dave Brubeck, whose father wanna him become a cattleman joined to army, thinks that swing jazz expresses the United States and freedom. Once, he showed his jazz musical skills. Colonel decided that he shouldn't go the first line for a better use - forming a jazz band. "American Army may have been segregated,but Dave Brubeck's Wolf Pack Band was not" ( Dedicated to Chaos: Ken Burns's Jazz, Part 7). After they back to America, things didn't change that much. Even if jazz was the most popular music, but USA still is not "free." Black people can't feel free in this country just like the things happen when Brubeck came back, they went to eat, but the dinning room reject to serve black soldiers, which caused a black soldier started to think that the things he has been through in the war is worth or not.

These information is important because I feel ridiculous that so many people lost their life in the world war but people, who were behind them, who were protected by them, even didn't care that much and abhorred them just because of their skin color which is one thing they can't change. This thing is unfair, and people are ungratefulness.


4th : Documentary Clip 5

Chapter 13-The Street

Harlem was called "Negro heaven" in the late '20s and the very early '30s. But things changed on April 21, 1943, "Savoy" the best bar room in Harlem was padlocked, which was just a start of segregation. The real reason was that " blacks and whites had not just danced together at the Savoy but had gone home together." (qtd. Ken Burns's Jazz, part 7) The segregation lead the city became much more dangerous than before, even jazz fans hesitated to come anymore which directly influenced Jazz music at that time.

It's important for us too know that segregation not only influenced Blacks and Whites, but also influenced Jazz music. Besides, the violence which segregation caused also made the society unstable.


5th : Documentary Clip 2

Documentary Jazz (Part5) – Chapter 10 (“Men Working Together”)


Body and Soul, one of the best jazz music was played by a trio. Everyone in the US loved the music and listened a lot, however, it had never played on the stage since the piano player was a black man, Teddy Wilson. In 1934, Benny Goodman played with Wilson at a jam session for the first time. Goodman was really influenced by black musicians, but he mentioned, “I'm not such a fool. I'm making head here, and I men this is going to be my career, and I don't want to wreck everything to present a black talent in the middle of everything” (“Men Working Together”). However, it was not his real thought. He wanted to play with Wilson on the stage, but the audiences and country did not allow it. Fortunately, Helen Oakley, the promoter of a concert, gave him a chance to play with Wilson. And, it was success, but few band followed this mixing style.


It is important to know that musicians wanted to perform together on the stage, but the country did not allow it. It shows how hard to claim that both white and black should work together because of the racism at that time. I think Goodman was a brave man. Musicians knew that bringing great musicians to the band, whoever black or white, had to be able to create better music though.



Example of comment for the 5th : Hi Koyuki,

This is a great example which shows the racism and segregation during that time, and the example you used  clearly shows the society status of blacks too. However, you said that "the country did not allow it", which in my point of view, I thought was the people who didn't allow blacks and whites play together.

Subject English
Due By (Pacific Time) 03/16/2015 11:33 pm
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