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97 Ratings

Jazz on a Summer's Day

Directed by Bert Stern, Aram Avakian
United States, 1960


In 1958, Bert Stern took a film crew to Newport, Rhode Island for the Newport Jazz Festival. No film has ever presented a greater array of talent in a more complementary fashion.

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Jazz on a Summer's Day Directed by Bert Stern, Aram Avakian

Critics reviews

Several of the performances are among the treasures of filmed music; all of them, whatever their musical merit, are filmed with a rare artistry, a rare attention to making images of music that are themselves musical. Yet the film leaves an impression of misprogramming, condescension, and even willful omission, in the interest of producing a particular image of the Newport Festival and, above all, of jazz over all—an image that corresponds with a skewed image of the United States itself.
October 25, 2016
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How mesmerizing it is just to witness the physical manifestation of her impeccable diction. She seems to bite the end off each syllable. The meaning of the lyrics, even the lyrics themselves, gradually dissolves. [The shot where Anita O’Day belts out “Sweet Georgia Brown”], one of the greatest in the history of musical cinema, is the very embodiment of the label “documentary.” We’re given a privileged vantage point from which to study a musician at work.
April 12, 2013
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