Director: Bert Stern
Jazz On A Summer's Day is the first and archetypal concert film, the progenitor of Woodstock, The T.A.M.I. Show etc. Columbia Records, which at the time (1958) owned most of the great jazz recording artists, hired top international photographer Bert Stern to cover the Newport, Rhode Island Jazz Festival, an annual outdoor event with the America's Cup sailing race going on in the background. What we get is a myth wrapped in a myth; jazz as a community of black and white performers together enfolded in a traditional American small-town community of black and white music lovers paying homage.
The film coincided with and crystallises the cultural moment in American life when jazz was given full, comfortable, unthreatening middle-class status: it was OK, coffee-table book, CBS television, certified culture, and Jazz On A Summers Day is the catalogue of its images, its associations. and, by omission, all those things we don't want it to be. Hailed at the time for finding colours and images to match jazz sounds, MIFF is proud to present a newly struck colour print featuring, in their prime, Louis Armstong, Mahalia Jackson, Dinah Washington, Jack Teagarden, Jimmy Guiffre, Chuck Berry, George Shearing, Sonny Stitt, Gerry Mulligan, Thelonious Monk, Big Maybelle, Chico Hamilton, and many more.