Jazz on A Summer's Day (1959)

  • Documentary, Music
  • 1h 25m
  • 1959

In 1958, celebrated photographer Bert Stern was inspired by a friend to “take some pictures” of the Newport Jazz Festival. Following a turn of events, Stern decided to produce a full fledged motion picture with co-director Aram Avakian. It would become Stern’s only film. By breaking many cinematic taboos, and using the musical directorial talents of famed record producer George Avakian Stern recreated the look of his still photography into motion with a dazzling display of rich human observation and some of the most remarkable scenes of live jazz ever brought to the screen. When it premiered at the Venice film Festival rumours of an American “ New Wave” swirled. Although the principle emphasis of JAZZ ON A SUMMER’S DAY is on the performance of such legendary artists as Louis Armstrong, Anita O’Day, Mahalia Jackson, and Thelonious Monk, Stern’s camera also fills us with illuminating images of America at its best. Whether it’s a birds eye view of the rich in their yachts or young from Booklyn on a tour of Newport’s picturesque streets and beaches, this is more than just a jazz film, it’s the film of an era.


Aram Avakian


Bert Stern