June is African American Music Appreciation Month.
Amid the rise of suburbia, television, rock ‘n’ roll, and the baby boom generation, jazz lost a beloved and burned-out star: Billie Holiday. But the music still had its two guiding lights. In 1956, the first year Elvis topped the charts, Duke Ellington recaptured the nation’s ear with a performance at the Newport Jazz Festival. The next year, Louis Armstrong made headlines when he condemned racism in Little Rock, Arkansas—risking his career while musicians who dismissed him as an Uncle Tom stayed silent. But the leading light of the era was Miles Davis—a catalyst constantly forming new groups to showcase different facets of his stark, introspective sound. Then, as the turbulent Sixties arrived, two saxophonists took jazz further into uncharted terrain—John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. Distributed by PBS Distribution. Part of the series Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns. (110 minutes). Distributed by PBS Distribution.