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Press Release

The American Cultural Center Presents the Second Episode of "Jazz," a Film by Ken Burns

PR0356E | Date: 2003-10-24

On October 30 (Thursday), from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., the AIT American Cultural Center will show "Gift," the second episode of Ken Burns' documentary "Jazz" as part of its film program on the history of jazz. The program examines the origins of Jazz and the cultural and historical events that relate directly with the music.

The "Jazz Age" of the 1920s sets the tone for this episode, and the story features the early legends of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, and Paul Whiteman. Flappers, Prohibition, speakeasies and the booming stock market - the uproarious "Jazz Age" is the backdrop as the story of jazz becomes the story of two great cities, Chicago and New York, and of two extraordinary artists whose lives and music span almost three-quarters of a century - Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Armstrong, a fatherless waif brought up on the mean streets of New Orleans, develops what he calls his "gift" - his unparalleled genius as a trumpet player - and in 1922 makes his way to Chicago, where he gathers around him a whole generation of talented musicians, white as well as black. Ellington, brought up in middle-class comfort and refinement in Washington, D.C. by parents who believed him "blessed," moves to Harlem, New York, forms his own band, and begins to play a new kind of enthralling blues-drenched music for dancing.

Over the next four months (11/13/2003 through 2/26/2004), the remaining 8 parts will be shown every other week on Thursday evenings, except for public holidays. The complete film program schedule with episode summaries is available on request.

The American Cultural Center is located at Suite 2101, 21F, No. 333, Keelung Road, Section 1, Taipei. The program is open to the public without charge. Pre-registration is suggested to ensure a seat and an information packet on the relevant episode. To indicate your interest, obtain a schedule, or get more information on this series, please contact Morris Huang at 2723-3959 ext. 215; or Patricia Wang ext. 285; fax 2725-2644; e-mail: