The Story of Jazz
If your budget allows you to buy only one jazz video, this should be the one. Not that it’s necessarily the best, but The Story of Jazz is the most comprehensive, compressing a century of musical history into 90 absorbing minutes. Visually, it benefits from well-chosen, at times oddly moving footage of forgotten early musicians and enthusiastic amateur dancers. Principal writer Chris Albertson’s thorough grounding in jazz tradition is a real plus. One warning, though: producer Toby Byron has recycled interviews from previous tapes, so if you have his recent Basie or Coltrane videos, expect deja vu.