An essential for anyone who wants to learn about/enjoy this
Steve Nathan | New York, NY | 08/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen so many films about the Harlem Renaissance, I was beginning to think that there was no film that both captured and explained the history of the period and also made learning fun for students. As a teacher, I use this DVD with my 12 and 13 year old students. The full versions of songs on the bonus part of the DVD shows the power that visual and audio images can have and had way before MTV. For the price and quality, this is a must have for educators, and a joy for historians and music lovers in general."
jfarles | Scotland | 09/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It is certainly hard to find films in jazz from this time period, so this collection is a very valuable one. The quality of the recordings are incredible considering their age, and the representations of the music/musicians sometimes surprising, even for those who study jazz culture.
Although the commentary may not give you much information beyond an introductory level, being able to see jazz performance is something which simply reading about the period can't compare to. One thing to mention--though this DVD is entitled Harlem Renaissance, it seems like several of these films were produced after renaissance was considered to be over."
Good footage, poor documentary
MB | Darien, IL | 10/24/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this DVD for a course I teach on African-American Literature. This is a great DVD if you are interested in showing/discussing the music or performances of the period. However, the "documentary" components of this film are sorely lacking; the commentary provides only the most basic information about the Harlem Renaissance, and there is only about five minutes of commentary throughout the whole documentary. As such, this is mainly just a collection of performance clips, so you will need to do a lot more backgrounding for your students if you wish to explore this aspect of the Harlem Renaissance in depth. Also, don't be fooled by the running time -- the actual "documentary" portion of the film is only about 45 minutes long, and there is an extra 30 minutes of "bonus features" with an additional 11 performances."
Jazz musicians & Tap dancers
Food Fan | New York | 07/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD has a great collection of many old film clips interspersed with limited but informative commentary. I really enjoyed listening and watching the jazz musicians play/sing and the dancers dance. There are two dozen artists/groups that are featured here. I have never seen this video footage elsewhere, so it was really special to see what the music LOOKed like."