Dear friends, family and followers of the HamWeg Blog, we would like to apologize for being on a Social Blackout for over two months. We could include many excuses for not posting but our mea culpa won’t include any of these arguments. What we want to focus on is our amazing ideas, history heroes, tv shows, movies, books, and computer tricks that make the HamWeg Blog an experience above most others today.
Snapping out of a Social Blackout is more than dedicating the time to sit down and develop blog posts that are entertaining and educational but to emotionally connect to the topic we want to share. This can be especially draining at the HamWeg blog because we have many things we are passionate about, which explains our wide breadth of blog posts.
During the past two months we discovered a documentary from Ken Burns that sparked this emotional connection and passion. Jazz, is a 12 part mini-series first aired on PBS in 2001 that chronicles the history of Jazz music from its origins of mixing Blues and Ragtime in the heart of New Orleans, through the Swing era, the Bebop movement and beyond. The documentary focuses on many influential musicians including; King Oliver, Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Sarah Vaughan, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and many more wonderful entertainers.
Most of our exposure to Jazz music was from old movies and televisions shows where we enjoyed the music but didn’t think about its historical, musical and social ramifications. Growing up we had favorite songs from the Jazz era that we included in our music collection like “In the Mood”, “Blue Skies”, “Stardust”, and “Black & Tan Fantasie.” But after binge watching this documentary we have now added many great Jazz performances to our collection and have widened our love for this music and the musicians that bring it to life.
Miles Davis and Sarah Vaughan have become two of our new favorite Jazz artists. Miles Davis’ jazz album, “The Birth of Cool” has an innovative style that blows our socks off. We can listen to “Moon Dreams” and “Israel” over and over again and find new notes and harmonies that inspire. Sarah Vaughan’s soulful voice has haunted us ever since hearing her Grammy winning song “If You Could See Me Now” in episode eleven.
Like most of Ken Burns’ documentaries Jazz, uses slow panning and zooming of photographs mixed with music, eye witness interviews and present day experts providing anecdotes and stories about Jazz Greats that are no longer with us, like John Coltrane, Jelly Roll Morton, and Thelonious Monk, just to name a few. This style really spoke to us and we were amazed at the visual history of America in the 1900s. Seeing pictures of Duke Ellington at the Cotton Club or Chick Webb at the Savoy Ballroom gave us a peak of America that is not included in today’s history books.
Jazz music is an original American art form that changed everything it touched. Like most art forms Jazz influenced people and events outside of music and shaped the style and sound of America. You can purchase the Jazz Documentary from Amazon or if you are lucky catch it on PBS during one of its many rebroadcasts. You can also find a 5 CD box set featuring the Jazz music from the documentary.