Jazz on a Summer's Day

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Arts Documentary published by New Yorker Films in 1960 - English narration

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Image: Jazz-on-a-Summer-s-Day-Cover.jpg

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Hailed by critics to be the best jazz film ever, famous photographer's Bert Stern's Jazz On A Summer's Day lives up to its reputation today.

Shot in Newport, RI during the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival and the America's Cup trials of the same year, initially intended as a full length motion picture, it was downsized to a concert documentary due to lack of funds. We have to thank our good luck for this, as this film broke new ground on how a live music performance should be captured. It literally wrote the book.

Shot in lush color instead of the grim black and white used until then, including scenes in broad daylight, interleaving performances with the sailing races going on simultaneously, it made people look at jazz from an entirely different perspective.

This was half a century ago and it really shows. People hit it off very differently back then, as the amazing crowd scenes attest to. With rock 'n roll just around the corner ready to take the popular music scene by storm, these were merrier, more innocent times.

Reviews :

- Jazz on a Summer's Day is a priceless record of the 1958 Jazz Festival at Newport, Rhode Island. It just doesn't get better than this. We see Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Dinah Washington, Chuck Berry, Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, George Shearing, Jack Teagarden, Sonny Stitt, Chico Hamilton, Anita O'Day and Big Maybelle, so we'd stay glued to the screen even if the film was poorly made. But it isn't: director Bert Stern not only does a masterful job of filming these imperishable greats at their very best, but he manages to make the whole enterprise fascinatingly fluid and thoroughly cinematic. Even non-jazz buffs will be exhilarated by Jazz on a Summer's Day. - Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

- Before The Last Waltz, Woodstock, or even Monterey Pop, there was Jazz on a Summer's Day. The granddaddy of the all-star concert film, it is a feast for the jazz enthusiast and features a parade of musical giants. Each viewer will have his or her own favorite moments, and highlights include Anita O'Day's showstopping rendition of "Sweet Georgia Brown," Dinah Washington belting out "All of Me,", and a medley of tunes from Louis Armstrong. Chuck Berry also delivers an enthusiastic version of "Sweet Little Sixteen," complete with his trademark duck walk, and Mahalia Jackson powerfully wraps things up with some gospel. As important as this film is as a record of jazz history, it is also impressive as documentary filmmaking. While never straying from the edict that the prime focus is on the performing artist, filmmaker Bert Stern also avoids randomly plopping the camera down on the stage. Instead he moves the camera in on the performers, providing a musical intimacy that must have been rare in the 1950s. He also regularly goes out amongst the audience, making the audience and their reaction to the concert almost as much a part of the film as the music itself. An invaluable contribution is made by editor Aram Avakian, who pieces together all of this footage, as well as shots from in and around Newport, into a coherent recount of a classic concert, and frequently does so by beautifully editing the film in rhythm with the music. In 1999, Jazz on a Summer's Day was added by the Library of Congress to its National Film Registry, designating it as a film landmark, and the film's significance as both a historical record and quality filmmaking is evident throughout. - Bob Mastrangelo, All Movie Guide

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[edit] Technical Specs

  • Video Codec: x264 AVC
  • Video Bitrate: 1 323 KB/s
  • Display Aspect Ratio: 4:3
  • Video Resolution: 640 x 472
  • Audio Codec: (Dolby AC3)
  • Audio Bitrate: 192 Kb/s 48000Hz
  • Audio Channels: 6
  • Run-Time: 1h 21min
  • Framerate: 23.976FPS
  • Number of Parts: 1
  • Part Size: 902 Mb
  • Ripped by DocFreak08
  • Subtitles: no
  • Source: DVD

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