Film: Jazz on a Summer’s Day

Film: Jazz on a Summer’s Day

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USA

Relive the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival in this cult classic

Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1960) is a concert film set at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island, directed by commercial and fashion photographer Bert Stern. The Columbia Records jazz producer, George Avakian, was the musical director of the film. The film mixes images of water and the city with the performers and audience at the Festival. It also features scenes of the 1958 America's Cup yacht races. The film is largely without dialog or narration (except for periodic announcements by emcee Willis Conover).

The film features performances by Jimmy Giuffre, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Stitt, Anita O'Day, Dinah Washington, Gerry Mulligan, Chuck Berry, Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden. Also appearing are Buck Clayton, Jo Jones, Armando Peraza and Eli's Chosen Six, the Yale College student ensemble that included trombonist Roswell Rudd, shown driving around Newport in a convertible jalopy playing Dixieland.

Many performances ran so long that the last act, Mahalia Jackson, did not appear on stage until after midnight, performing the Lord's Prayer. In 1999, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".