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Press Release

American Cultural Center Presents 10Th Episode of Jazz Film Series with Opening Talk

On February 26 (Thursday), from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m., the American Cultural Center will show the tenth episode, "A Masterpiece by Midnight," of the 10-part video series "Jazz". This Ken Burns TV series, which tells the story of jazz, has attracted more than 250 viewers to the Center since its first episode was shown last October. This, the last program in the series, will begin at 6:00 pm with remarks by ICRT broadcast journalist and host of the radio program on jazz "Flavors" Bill Thissen. He will speak on the relevance of jazz to U.S. history and culture. The video will then be shown, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

"A Masterpiece by Midnight" examines how jazz was in trouble in the early 1960s. Critics divided the music into "schools" - Dixieland, swing, bebop, hard bop, modal free, avant-garde and more. But most young people were listening to "rock 'n' roll". Though Louis Armstrong briefly outsold the Beatles with "Hello Dolly," most jazz musicians were desperate for work and many headed for Europe. During the civil rights struggle, some artists, such as Max Roach, Charles Mingus, Archie Schepp, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago mixed music with social protest. John Coltrane died young, and Miles Davis conquered the avant-garde with a landmark quintet that combined jazz with rock 'n' roll, by using electric instruments, to launch a wildly popular sound called "Fusion". In the 1970s, jazz lost the exuberant genius of Louis Armstrong and the transcendent artistry of Duke Ellington. Over the next two decades a new generation of musicians emerged, led by the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, eager to express themselves within the music's great traditions. The musical journey that began in the dance halls and saloons and street parades of New Orleans, at the start of the 20th century, continues - and shows no sign of slowing down. As it entered its second century, jazz was still brand new every night, still vibrant, still evolving, and still swinging.

A poster show "Portrait of a New Generation: African-American Leaders Living the Legacy of Martin Luther King" will be on view during the program, and materials developed by the Resource Service including "All that Jazz" and "Women in Jazz History in the Key Jazz" will be distributed, as well as information on related publications that can be found in the center.

The American Cultural Center is located in Suite 2101, 21F, No. 333, Keelung Road, Section 1, Taipei. This video program is open to the public without charge. Pre-registration is suggested to ensure a seat. For more information, please contact Vicky Tsao at 2723-3959 ext. 283; or Meiling Liao ext. 202; fax 2725-2644; e-mail: