Set at the Newport jazz festival in 1958, this documentary mixes images of water and the town with performers and audience. The film progresses from day to night and from improvisational ... See full summary »
Set at the Newport jazz festival in 1958, this documentary mixes images of water and the town with performers and audience. The film progresses from day to night and from improvisational music to Gospel. It's a concert film that suggests peace and leisure, jazz at a particular time and place. Written by
Features one of the rare film appearances of two of the greatest jazz artists of all times: New Orleans-born trumpeter Louis Armstrong and Texas-born trombonist Jack Teagarden. When Armstrong formed his six-piece All Stars in 1946 Jack, who was white, was asked to join. The obvious affection these two great performers felt for each other's singing, clowning and playing is particularly evident in their classic performance of "Old Rocking Chair." After Armstrong was invited to return his home town after many years away, he insisted Teagarden join him on the stage. The city refused to let a white man and a Negro play together. Armstrong eventually returned to his native New Orleans, and performed at the very first New Orleans Jazz Festival. Coincidentally, along with Mahalia Jackson- his costar in this film. See more »
Not quite a concert film, not quite a travelogue, this "day and night in the life" of the Newport Jazz Festival is a delight. Some standout performances, including an unforgettable rendition of Sweet Georgia Brown by Anita O'Day and a gorgeous set by a beatific Mahalia Jackson would make this film worth watching all on their own. But, there's more. A very young Chuck Berry makes an appearance, and the earliest Rock and Roll seems boring by comparison to the many styles of jazz displayed in this film. Despite the repetitive groove, the folks in the audience can't help moving their feet to it and the future is foretold. Bert Stern deliberately moves the focus away from Berry's stage pyrotechnics and keeps it on the audience and the amused if bored jazz musicians. Did he know this was what the future held? Maybe. Bits and pieces of the lives of affluent Newport residents, a yacht race (America's Cup qualifying), jazz musicians practicing, a break into Bach by a cellist, dancing on the rooftops, all the small parts that make this film greater than their sum, this is one worth watching, and perhaps, like me, you'll find it one worth adding to your permanent library of musical film.
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