Jazz on a Summer's Day (1959)
- Summaries (2)
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.
Although not released until 1960, this feature-length documentary captures all the highlights of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival -- opening with scenes of workers putting finishing touches on the stage shell and a jalopy carrying a Dixieland band through town. The musical numbers are intercut with Newport Harbor, Narragansett Bay and white-sailed yachts over the bay during the 1958 America's Cup Trials. Reviewing what was reportedly more than 100,000 feet of exposed negative color stock, Bert Stern realized he was lacking audience shots. So in his studio, Stern set up chairs and benches over fake funeral grass, invited jazz critic Martin Williams and others to the studio -- and filmed their reactions as they looked at a rough cut.
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