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Press Release

American Cultural Center to Present the Fifth Episode of "Jazz," a Film by Ken Burns

PR0363E | Date: 2003-12-08

On December 11 (Thursday), from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., the AIT American Cultural Center will show "Swing: Pure Please," the fifth 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.

This episode begins during the Great Depression of the mid-1930s, when jazz comes as close as it has ever come to being America's popular music. Jazz takes on the name of "Swing" and for the first time jazz musicians become matinee idols. Benny Goodman becomes the "King of Swing," and has to fend off a host of rivals, among them Tommy Dorsey, Jimmie Lunceford, Glen Miller, and Artie Shaw. Louis Armstrong also heads a big band of his own while Duke Ellington continues on his own independent course. This episode also chronicles how Billie Holiday emerged from a tragic childhood to become one of the greatest of all female jazz singers. The episode's finale takes place on May 11, 1937, when 4,000 people gather at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem to witness Benny Goodman and Chick Webb's bands perform in what is billed as "The Music Battle of the Century."

A poster show entitled "The King of Jazz: Louis Armstrong" and relevant books and materials will be displayed in the American Cultural Center during the screening of the film.

Over the next two months (1/8/2004 - 2/26/2004), the remaining five parts will be shown every other week on Thursday evenings. 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 for more information on this series, please contact Vicky Tsao at 2723-3959 ext. 283; or Meiling Liao ext. 202; fax 2725-2644;