Jazz on a Summer's Day

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Jazz on a Summer's Day
Film poster
Directed byBert Stern
Aram Avakian
Written byAlbert D'Annibale
Arnold Perl
CinematographyBert Stern
Edited byAram Avakian
Distributed byGalaxy Attractions
New Yorker Films (theatrical rerelease, VHS, and DVD)
Release date
August 1959 (Venice Film Festival)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States

Jazz on a Summer's Day is a 1959 concert film set at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival[1] in Newport, Rhode Island (which took place from July 3 to July 6 of 1958). The film was directed by commercial and fashion photographer Bert Stern and Aram Avakian,[2] who also edited the film. The Columbia Records jazz producer, George Avakian, was the musical director of the film.

The film mixes images of water and the city with the performers and audience at the festival. It also features scenes of the 1958 America's Cup yacht races. The film is largely without dialog or narration (except for periodic announcements by emcee Willis Conover).

The film features performances by Jimmy Giuffre; Thelonious Monk; Sonny Stitt; Anita O'Day; Dinah Washington; Gerry Mulligan; Chuck Berry; Chico Hamilton, with Eric Dolphy; and Louis Armstrong, with Jack Teagarden. Also appearing are Buck Clayton, Jo Jones, Armando Peraza, and Eli's Chosen Six, the Yale College student ensemble that included trombonist Roswell Rudd, shown driving around Newport in a convertible jalopy, playing Dixieland.[3]

As was scheduled in advance and announced in the program, the last performer Saturday night was Mahalia Jackson, who sang a one-hour program beginning at midnight, thus ushering in Sunday morning. The film concluded with her performance of The Lord's Prayer.

In 1999, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[4][5] The film received a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.



The film premiered at the 1959 Venice Film Festival.[6]

DVD and Blu Ray[edit]

The film was also re-released in 2009 by Charly Records and sold with an audio CD of the music and some of the commentary on a 60th anniversary edition.[7] In 2021, Kino Lorber released a version restored in 4K from the best surviving elements on Blu-ray and DVD.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ AllMusic
  2. ^ Rotten Tomatoes
  3. ^ "a l b a n y j a z z . c o m". Albanyjazz.com. 2005-11-05. Retrieved 2012-06-21.
  4. ^ "Preserving the Silver Screen (December 1999) - Library of Congress Information Bulletin". www.loc.gov. Retrieved 2020-11-17.
  5. ^ "Complete National Film Registry Listing". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2020-11-17.
  6. ^ Newport Jazz Festival Immortalized-WSJ
  7. ^ “Jazz on a Summer’s Day” 60th Anniversary Edition Out Now - JAZZIZ Magazine

External links[edit]