All That 'Jazz' on PBS Whets Appetites for More Music

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- It may be too much to expect a TV documentary to restore jazz to the mass popularity it enjoyed decades ago.

But Ken Burns' voluminous and talked-about Jazz, which wrapped up this week on PBS, has created a surge of interest in the music. CD sales are up, a companion book is debuting on The New York Times best-seller list next week, and some jazz institutions say their programs are evoking more interest.

The wave of interest comes along with criticism from some jazz purists that the series left out key artists, obscured some history and crammed the last 40 years of jazz into the final episode.

Even that debate, however, has been welcomed by many jazz enthusiasts.

"That means people are paying attention," said Karen Johnson, general manager of Jazz at Lincoln Center, in New York City.

She and others hope novices who tuned in to the 10-part series to learn more will become lifelong fans, appreciating not only jazz's history but contemporary jazz.

"I know personally I talked to a number of friends who are not jazz buyers or listeners ... who found themselves hooked on this series," said Bill McFarlin, executive director of the International Association of Jazz Educators in Manhattan, Kan.

He acknowledged the omissions of "Bill Evans, Chick Corea ... Pat Metheny, and a number of others who have obviously had an impact on this evolution of music." But he noted that Burns never intended to give a definitive history.

"In context of what the intentions were, I think that the end result will be positive," McFarlin said. …