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Press Release

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

PR0401E | Date: 2004-01-02

On January 8 (Thursday), from 6:30 to 8:15 p.m., the AIT American Cultural Center will show "Swing: The Velocity of Celebration," the sixth 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 depicts how the swing craze continues to grow in the late 1930s despite the Depression. In the middle of the country - in black dance halls, roadhouses and juke joints - a new kind of music has been incubating. Pulsing, stomping and suffused with the blues, it is played by men and women seasoned in cutting contests that sometimes go on all night. It will fall to Count Basie and Lester Young to bring its healing power to the rest of the country. This episode follows Benny Goodman as he takes his hot sound to Carnegie Hall and then rebuilds the most popular band in America. It describes how Chick Webb takes a chance on an "ugly duckling," the teen-aged singer Ella Fitzgerald, and succeeds in reaching a national audience, and how Billie Holiday finds a musical soul mate, and expresses her pain and indignation at racism in America in "Strange Fruit." The episode concludes in 1939, when Coleman Hawkins records a familiar tune in such a daring and beautiful way that it eventually helps cause a musical revolution in jazz.

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

Over the next 2 months (1/15/2004 through 2/26/2004), the remaining 4 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 more information on this series, please contact Vicky Tsao at 2723-3959 ext. 283; or Meiling Liao ext. 202; fax 2725-2644;