Jazz on a Summer’s Day, Bert Stern’s fabled film of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, is being re-released to virtual cinemas on August 12 by Kino Lorber via the online platform Kino Marquee. The movie recently underwent an extensive 4K restoration, which premiered at the 57th New York Film Festival. Check out the brand-new trailer below.
Featuring intimate performances by Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Anita O’Day, Dinah Washington, Chico Hamilton, Mahalia Jackson, and more, Jazz on a Summer’s Day was named to the National Film Registry in 1999. Its recent restoration by IndieCollect (with color correction by Oskar Miarka) was funded by the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress in time to celebrate the film’s 60th anniversary in 1959.
Perhaps the most historically significant segment of the film—and arguably its least jazzy—is the appearance of rock & roll pioneer Chuck Berry, backed with some bemusement by Count Basie’s rhythm section. This was the first time rock reared its head on the Newport stage; as Tom Reney noted for JazzTimes in 2012, “though the audience kept its frenzy in check for Chuck Berry, booking him marked a demarcation line between a festival devoted exclusively to jazz and what its founder George Wein describes as a ‘capitulation to the pressures of a rock-and-roll generation.’”
For more information about the re-release, visit the Kino Lorber website.