Synopsis by Matt Collar
Episode five of Ken Burns' series deals with jazz during the increasingly bleak Great Depression from 1935 to 1937. Swing music is now the most popular music of the time. Young fans flock to dance halls to swing their troubles away. Bandleaders such as Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmie Lunceford, and Artie Shaw are worshipped by their fans like matinee idols. Then Goodman, risking his career, forms the first racially integrated jazz group with the brilliant pianist Teddy Wilson. Meanwhile, Billie Holiday emerges from a rough childhood and is soon heralded as one of the greatest jazz vocalists ever. As 1937 comes to an end, Goodman heads to the Savoy Ballroom for what is billed as "The Music Battle of the Century" -- a musical face-off with Chick Webb's big band. Despite the tough competition, it's obvious to the many dancers on the floor who is the true "King of Swing."
heritage, jazz, music, swing-music