Jazz on a Summer's Day
4K Digital Restoration
August 12–October 25, 2020
Outstanding. . . . It’s Americana and a document of its time.Variety
Shot at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, Jazz on a Summer’s Day was the first of the modern music-festival docs, detailing the feel of the event as well as its most representative performances. Along with jazz greats Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Anita O’Day, and Louis Armstrong are groundbreaking performances by rock ’n’ roll and R&B artists Chuck Berry and Big Maybelle and a sublime set by gospel legend Mahalia Jackson. Dinah Washington’s playful duet with vibraphonist Terry Gibbs midway through her brilliant rendition of “All of Me” is another highlight. Director Bert Stern was as interested in the surroundings and the “scene” as in the music; the camera lingers on the gleaming Narragansett Bay, glances at America’s Cup sailing yachts, peeks into rehearsals and parties, and observes the fashions and faces of the audience as day turns into night. Jazz on a Summer’s Day was named to the National Film Registry in 1999. This sumptuous 4K digital restoration from the 35mm negative is a dazzling time capsule and an indispensable record of some of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century.