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
In Hilton Als' 2008 New Yorker review of the documentary Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer (2007), Als reports that Anita O'Day was high on heroin during her performance at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, and she was unaware that her performance was filmed until later. O'Day spoke frankly about her struggles with heroin addiction in her 1981 autobiography. See more »
This is a wonderful document of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival and archetype for the concert film, with captivating interludes of visual poetry. As close as one can get to traveling back through time, watching the audience is as much fun here as watching the performers. You can recognize this film as a source of inspiration, perhaps, for the pretensions behind projects like "The Last Waltz," and one certainly gets a sense, given the caliber of the performers gathered onto a single stage, of the magnitude of this event without it ever being forced. The intimacy remains intact. And in contrast with the somber beat of "The Last Waltz," the sun shines on everything here. A joy.
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