1959 The Year that Changed Jazz

Jun 13, 2023 | Music, Videos

In 1959, Jazz music underwent a seismic shift with four major albums released that would forever change the genre. Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, Dave Brubeck’s Time Out, Charles Mingus’ Mingus Ah Um, and Ornette Comeman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come all brought something new to the table and were instrumental in the move away from bebop. This period also coincided with a time of great social upheaval in America; civil rights issues were at the forefront of society’s consciousness and tensions ran high.

BBC have produced a documentary which goes into more detail about this era in musical history and its social context. It examines some of the key aspects of Jazz music during this period and provides an insight into the struggles faced by musicians as they explored new sounds. From looking at how each artist revolutionised their respective style to discussing the impact these albums had on popular culture, it is an essential watch for any music fan.

The documentary is an enthralling look back at what has been described as one of jazz’s most important periods. With archival footage, interviews with musicians and experts alike, as well as insights from those who lived through it all, it stands out as a comprehensive examination into one of music’s most significant moments in history. For anyone wanting to learn more about this era or simply explore further what makes jazz so special, then be sure to check out BBC’s must-see documentary.

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David B