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Archive for Wednesday, January 17, 2001

Jazz’ enters the Swing era

January 17, 2001

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Swing takes center stage as "Jazz" continues (8 p.m., PBS, part five of 10). Focusing on the years between 1937 and 1939 when the Depression deepened and war loomed, "Jazz" shows how swing bands led by Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, Chick Webb and others provided the dance music and soundtrack for a troubled nation. Most interesting is the rise of saxophonists Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins, two geniuses who took the tenor sax, an instrument that author Gary Giddens explains had been relegated to "clowns," and turned it into the most important sound in jazz music.

Also explored is the marvelous confluence of music and corruption in the "wide open" city of Kansas City, Mo. Controlled by the Pendergast political machine, which would later champion a little known politician named Harry S. Truman, Kansas City was considered one of the most vice-ridden towns in America. It's many bars and music halls attracted talent from all over the nation, including a man from Red Bank, N.J., who would be known the world over as Count Basie.

Is "Biography" (7 p.m., A&E) running out of subjects to profile? Now they're turning to the cast of the old "Hollywood Squares." Truth be told, tonight's subject, Paul Lynde had a great career as a comic second banana before being permanently ensconced in the center square. Before his big Broadway break in Broadway's "New Faces of 1952," his life was anything but comic.

Those who can't get enough of the "Titanic" story might tune into "SS Andrea Doria: A Journey of Adventure" (7 p.m., Discovery). Sailing in the 1950s, the Andrea Doria was the world's fastest and swankiest ocean liner. Far from the icebergs that sank the Titanic more than 40 years earlier, the Andrea Doria fell victim to human ineptitude when a misinterpreted instrument panel sent it on a collision course with a Swedish freighter off the coast of Martha's Vineyard. More than 44 passengers died.

Tonight's other highlights

Kirsten Storms stars as the spunky teen aboard a space station in "Zenon: the Zequel" (6 p.m., Disney), a continuation of last year's "Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century."

Ed feels attracted to a courtroom adversary (Rena Sofer) on "Ed" (7 p.m., NBC).

A bugged out professor covers himself with 50,000 bees on "Ripley's Believe it Or Not" (7 p.m., TBS).

A married couple (Kurt Russell and Kathleen Quinlan) fall prey to a highway sicko in the 1997 drama, "Breakdown" (8 p.m., CBS).

A new conservative staffer (Emily Proctor) ruffles feathers on a repeat of "The West Wing" (8 p.m., NBC).

Couples from "committed" relationships test their moral mettle against a bevy of bimbos and himbos on "Temptation Island" (8 p.m., Fox).

A human casualty of animal rights activists on "Law & Order" (9 p.m., NBC).

Lily makes her voice heard on the job on "Once and Again" (9 p.m., ABC).

A first-year NFL player shares his experiences on "True Life: I'm a Rookie" (9 p.m., MTV).

Series notes

Unread and unready on the "Oprah" show on "Bette" (7 p.m., CBS) ... An embarrassing yearbook picture on "That '70s Show" (7 p.m., Fox) ... Regis Philbin hosts "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (7 p.m., ABC) ... Poisoned at a White House dinner on "Seven Days" (7 p.m., UPN) ... Pacey fears yet another bad birthday on "Dawson's Creek" (7 p.m., WB).

Jim's brother hears more information than he asked for on "Welcome to New York" (7:30 p.m., CBS) ... Snooping in Lily's room inspires a parental dilemma on "Grounded For Life" (7:30 p.m., Fox).

A visit from Oswald's ex-con father (Tom Poston) on "The Drew Carey Show" (8 p.m., ABC) ... Scattered across the years on "Star Trek: Voyager" (8 p.m., UPN) ... Jill anticipates popping the question on "Jack & Jill" (8 p.m., WB).

The mayor's new girlfriend weighs in on policy matters on "Spin City" (8:30 p.m., ABC).

Late night

Matthew McConaughey and Elle MacPherson are on "Late Show With David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Hilary Swank, Benicio del Toro and Jill Scott are Jay Leno's guests on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).

Joe Scarborough is Bill Maher's guest on "Politically Incorrect" (11:05 p.m., ABC).

Frank Caliendo is scheduled on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Dennis Farina and Garcelle Beauvais are booked on "The Late, Late Show With Craig Kilborn" (11:37 p.m., CBS).

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