Those who hadn't given up on Ken Burns after watching Jazz
may have caught his documentary The War
(2007), which chronicled the Greatest Generation's experience in World War II. Of course the related products also hit the stores, and you can purchase related books and CDs, either singly or in deluxe editions.
The soundtrack to The War starts off strongly with a piece of patriotism from Norah Jones. Her intimate piano rendition is perfectly suited to the song, which is touching without being schmaltzy, the type of song that really deserves wider recognition. This is pretty much the only song worth owning from the collection, which sadly falls victim to many other soundtrack albums: many of the pieces are used as background music and are a tad dull when not accompanying images, and because they accompany various moods, the combination comes off as schizophrenic, with no unifying idea to hold it all together. It's a mishmash of WWII jazz, brooding classical pieces, and Wynton Marsalis' usual indulgences, that is likely to satisfy no one interested in any of the three.
The compilations of music from the era are more consistently satisfying. Legacy has access to virtually all of the best music from this time period, and the tie-in with the series gives them another opportunity to get some of it back into circulation. Both Sentimental Journey and I'm Beginning To See the Light are filled with obvious choices like "In the Mood and some more obscure selections like the addictive "Paper Doll by the Mills Brothers. Both succeed at being evocative of their time periods. We get radio broadcasts courtesy of Frank Sinatra, and it's not hard to figure out that a song like "We'll Meet Again took on an extra resonance during wartime.
However, there are so many other compilations of this type of music available that it's hard to say that these stand out above the pack (and curmudgeonly types will snidely comment that Jazz didn't go much farther forward in time musically). As a first purchase, they're a fine acquisition. But it's a sure bet that if you aren't quite sure whether these collections are your cup of tea, wait around and Legacy will come up with some new way to bring them out into the market.