Celebrating Bird - The Triumph of Charlie Parker
This is the best jazz video to date. This brilliant film burns his totality into the consciousness just like a classic Parker solo.
Satchmo - Louis Armstrong
If you want to know the meaning of the word charisma, dont miss this 90-minute PBS American Masters portrait of the worlds most famous horn player, Louis Armstrong.
Lady Day - The Many Faces of Billie Holiday
Every jazz buff should be grateful to a producer like Toby Byron for making available Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday. Id recommend it for any basic jazz video library along with Byrons joyous earlier production, Satchmo.
Sarah Vaughan - The Divine One
This riveting hour shows just how Vaughan evolved, visually and vocally; it will leave the viewer with a mixture of joy that this wondrous memento exists and sorrow at the loss of which it reminds us.
Ray Charles - The Genius of Soul
Like the man it profiles, Ray Charles: The Genius of Soul has a voice thats distinctive, emotional and impressively truthful.
Story of Jazz
The Story of Jazz is a superb 90-minute history from the 1830s through the 1980s.
Bluesland - A Portrait In American Music
Bluesland, a companion to the book, the film is a wonderful, essential and totally accessible history of the bluesas entertaining as it is educational.
Of course, no 90-minutes video will provide a proper history of anything (except maybe the career of Vanilla Ice), yet Bluesland is remarkable for its use of rare performance footage of such pioneers as Son House, Bukka White, Sonny Boy Williamson, Roosevelt Sykes, Lonnie Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy and T-Bone Walker. To watch them perform, to hear them play makes Bluesland as essential as it is thrilling.
The Kennedy Center Presents: A Tribute To Muddy Waters - King of The Blues
Performance footage is interspersed with biographical segments, live renditions of Waters classics and brief taped reflections from such rock acolytes as Gregg Allman, Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, Peter Wolf and other that help elucidate Waters impact on all of popular music.