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Col, Verve offer ‘Jazz’ set for docu

Boxed set to bow alongside PBS special

Columbia Records’ Legacy imprint and Verve Records are joining forces to release a far-reaching overview in conjunction with Ken Burns’ PBS documentary “Jazz.”

On Nov. 7, Columbia Legacy and Verve will release a five-CD box set companion titled “Ken Burns Jazz: The Story of American Music” in addition to 22 individual artist discs. There will also be a single disc overview of the 10-episode series, which will air beginning Jan. 8.

Sony Music will release the box set and single disc overview domestically and Verve will release them internationally.

Universal Music Group’s Verve label and Columbia possess two of the nation’s largest jazz libraries. To make the disc’s comprehensive, tracks are being licensed from other jazz labels, such as Atlantic, BMG, Fantasy and Blue Note.

A Columbia spokesman said the sets are not meant to be historically inclusive, just representative of the Burns docu. The five-CD set, which includes music from the shows, is a product of Burns’ vision. Repertoire for all the sets is still being worked on.

Among the artists who will have the single disc issued through Columbia/Legacy are Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Herbie Hancock, Fletcher Henderson, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk and Jelly Roll Morton. Verve will issue sets from Count Basie, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Lester Young, among others.

“This project represents a fantastic opportunity to celebrate over 100 years of jazz history, while at the same time helping a whole new generation of music fans to appreciate the beauty, power and importance of this uniquely American art form,” said Sony Music/Legacy Recordings senior vice president Jeff Jones.

A marketing plan for the sets is still in the works. Before the series airs, Knopf will publish a coffee-table book of photographs from the series. After its airing, Warner Home Video will release it on DVD.

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