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The Best Jazz Show Ever Broadcast on TV

Bret Primack, aka the Jazz Video Guy, posts a video of a noted 1958 television show, hosted by Gilbert Seldes with musical direction by Billy Taylor

Orrin Keepnews and Cannonball Adderley
Billy Taylor

In the summer of 1958, Billy Taylor served as the Musical Director for “The Subject is Jazz.” Hosted by Gilbert Seldes, each thirty minute episode focused on a specific genre of jazz, including swing, cool, and bebop, which is featured here. The Bebop episode, which included Cannonball and Nat Adderley, features Billy’s detailed explanation of the bebop form, with musical examples, “Bebop,” “A NIght in Tunisia” and “Round Midnight.” Cannonball also discusses Charlie Parker.

There were only thirteen episodes of the series, which was co-written by Leonard Feather and Marshall Stearns, yet many consider the program the best jazz show ever presented on television.

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