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Jazz On A Summers Day [DVD]

Thelonius Monk , Louis Armstrong , Bert Stern    Exempt   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
Price: 10.40 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Jazz On A Summers Day [DVD] + A Great Day In Harlem [DVD] [2010]
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Product details

  • Actors: Thelonius Monk, Louis Armstrong, Chuck Berry, Mahalia Jackson, George Shearing
  • Directors: Bert Stern
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Artefact Films
  • DVD Release Date: 21 May 2012
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006MGWC0M
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,906 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Jazz On A Summer's Day is widely regarded as being one of the greatest jazz movies ever made. It was filmed over the four days of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. The movie not only captured inspired performances from the biggest names in jazz at the time, but also the style and fashions of late Fifties America. As such, it remains a priceless document of times gone by.

It was the only film made by leading stills photographer Bert Sterns, his photographer’s ttable images of the performers, the audience and the picturesque setting of Rhode Island.

Here are truly memorable performances from some of the greatest jazz players and singers of the time, including Thelonious Monk, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington and Gerry Mulligan. By way of contrast, it also features the then controversial appearance of rock ‘n’ roller Chuck Berry, performing his big hit from that year, "Sweet Little Sixteen”. The film concludes with the peerless gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.

Extras include– interview with Bert Stern, An Introduction to Jazz On A summers day, Artist biographies, Photo Gallery, Background information about its making, along with biographies and film stills of the performers.

Product Description

In 1958 fashion photographer Bert Stern set out to make a film about the annual Jazz festival in Newport, Rhode Island. An attempt at a fictional film turned out to be an enduring classic music documentary and is widely regarded as the best Jazz film ever made, and the inspiration for festival films.

Stern beautifully captures the essence of the festival with images of people enjoying the summer and intently or casually watching and listening to the performances which include Thelonious Monk, Anita O'Day, Sonny Stitt, Gerry Mulligan, George Shearing, Maybelle Smith, George Shearing, Dinah Washington, Chico Hamilton, Louis Armstrong, Chuck Berry and gospel singer Mahalia Jackson..

Awards and Accreditations:

Elected in 2001 by the Librarian of Congress for the National Film Registry of "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" works

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a gem of a film 29 July 2004
The greatest jazz film of all time. 1958 was a turning point in modern music and this film encapsulates the transition between the traditional and the modern. The Newport Jazz festival has been going now for 50 years but at no other festival was such a diversified line up of artists assembled. From Louis Armstrong to Chuck Berry, Anita O'Day to Theolonius Monk, this is a concert to savour. Shot by a fashion photographer and linked with stunning passages featuring the 1958 America's cup, this is more than a concert film. It is a study of 1950's America having a great time on a summer's day. Buy it.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A day not to be missed. 8 July 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I was 16 and in Missouri when this movie was made and when I saw the film, it just told me that there was a great wide world out there and I wanted to get to it fast. I spent years and years trying to find a record of Jazz on a Summers Day, but nothing appeared. Copyright problems I was told. Well, there is no problem now! I can put the DVD on my computer and just listen to the magic of the day or sit and watch. The movie and music capture an America long gone, and I miss that. But at least the DVD gives me that day when the sun shone and the music was HOT.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectactular visuals & music. 5 Feb 2002
From the opening sequence of the river traffic reflected in the moving water, the visuals throughout are spectacular; & as artistic & colourful as the music captured. I became a fan of Anita O`Day & the Gerry Mulligan Quartet as a result of seeing this film.
Its a time capsule of late 50`s American style.
The section of a Bach Cello Suite played on Double Bass in the darkened room has the sound & visuals absolutely enhancing each other with the vivid shaft of light showing only portions of instrument & player (& his pipe smoke) thoughout.
The shape of the future is hinted at in an early Chuck Berry performance near the end.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely marvelous 11 Jun 2008
First of all, let me tell you how thrilled I am by this DVD
- it has amazing musical moment with, for instance, Thelonious Monk, Anita O'Day, Mahalia Jackson, Dinah Washington and Louis Armstrong shining very brightly (although, yes, the Monk number is marred by some mood shots and other interventions...), Satchmo and Teagarden crooning and scatting magnificently... Actually, I don't think I've seen a more beautiful footage of Armstrong's performance; he was still on the top in the 50s and Bert Stern portraits him beautifully, with some fortunatelly stylized stage lighting.

And it goes beyond music; check out the glamour of O'Day's attire, the moment very spirited Dinah Washington grabs the battons and joins Terry Gibbs on the vibes, the look on great Jo Jones' face while he supports Chuck Berry or, for that matter, the bizarre clarinet spot on that number - someone said it's Peanuts Hacko (who is too caucasian, as you can see on Armstrong's numbers on some other DVD's), others mention Rudy Rutheford - I don't know how he looked like (I do know he played in Count Basie orchestra back in 40s or something like that, so I guess he might be African American)...

I would agree with those who say that cool jazz numbers don't fare here as well as the traditional jazz, blues, gospel, mainstream and some modern ( Thelonious Monk!) numbers, even with the annoying break in the middle of the Sonny Stitt-Sal Salvador performance.

The breaks in the performance grow rarer as the film reaches the end, so there is place for true climax and musical as well as cinemathic catharsis in the end.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection 16 Nov 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
In my opinion, this is the perfect movie. The photography is amazing thanks to Bert Stern being a stills man first of all, and a film maker second. His work shows the best of both worlds. The music is so fantastic that the audience actually listens to it!!!! A bit of a novelty nowadays. Mind you, I'm still wondering what Chuck Berry was doing there. Still he was fun!
I can't work out whether Mahalia Jackson or Chico Hamilton stole the show, but you could literally hear a pin drop during their performances, the audience was so entranced. I would put them equal first.
Watch it, listen to it, and make up your own mind. If you like wonderful music played with skill, love and talent, this is the DVD for you
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
When I first saw this, more than 10 years ago, I remember being transfixed.
Although the cinematography could be said to now show it's age, it beautifully conveys a feeling of the time. The warmth, brilliance, genius, sense of fun and in retrospect naiveté of a bygone era.
My personal favorite has to be Mahalia Jackson, as there is so little footage of her around.
To sum up though, I would defy anybody to watch this and not come away with some positive feeling that they would wish to keep with them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jazz On A Summer's Day 19 July 2011
My wife and I saw this film before we were married in 1962 and it gave us a love of jazz which has lasted through the years. The fact that it is not like other videos of music festivals, showing scenes other than just the musicians playing, gives it a unique flavour.
Some of the shots have stayed in our memory quite vividly, the cellist rehearsing and smoking a cigarette, the girl in the sunglasses he keeps finding in the crowd, all the time the music playing.
There are some memorable performances as well, Chuck Berry didn't stand out as unusual in a jazz concert because he lit up the stage. Louis Armstrong, well, what can you say, absolute master of his craft but to us, how can you forget Mahalia Jackson singing The Lord's Prayer.
A film for music lovers, where the technique of the hand held camera is being used to great effect, an effect being copied by the modern movie maker.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars The CD is OK and I like the musice -that's why I bought it
Ordered via Prime - still arrived a day late. Contained a CD & DVD. The CD is OK and I like the musice -that's why I bought it. The DVD won't play. Read more
Published 1 month ago by snapper
5.0 out of 5 stars It covers combines my interest in jazz and America Cup match yatch...
This DVD was purchased as a replacement for my video recording from a TV presentation. It covers combines my interest in jazz and America Cup match yatch racing and the wonderful... Read more
Published 1 month ago by G E FERRIS
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly iconic film
I first saw this film many years ago when I was involved with jazz. I didn't realise it was still available so it brings back many happy memories as well as containing some great... Read more
Published 3 months ago by jonathan simon lawton
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure joy!
I've got it on tape so that let's you know how long ago I lister to it in full . Just the odd track on vinyl but that was just sound having the DVD gives you that insight into the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Brian waters
4.0 out of 5 stars some disappointment
I swa the original seven times and so know it well. I bought the dvd from Amazon only to find that some sessions are missing. Notably the Duke Ellington set. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mervyn Jeffery
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, nostalgic stuff.
Amazing performances and quirky, individual style but very effective filming. Was too young first time around to remember this, but because of an interest in Film and Jazz had... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mrs L S Cripps
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT QUITE WHAT I EXPECTED
It confused me as to what this was meant to be - very different from the cover. Rare and interesting sights of famous performers.
Published 7 months ago by Stuffmagnet
5.0 out of 5 stars What can one say
The greatest jazz film ever. Fascinating insight into the time, watching the audience as well as the performers, a good film for watching when the weather is bad.
Published 8 months ago by Carole
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite a concert documentary ...but a wonderful film by a brilliant...
Film: 8,5/10
DVD (Charly release; ASIN: B00005NX0L): 6/10
Picture quality: 6,5/10
Sound: 6/10; mono
Aspect ratio: 1,33:1 (orig. Read more
Published 9 months ago by mickey_one
5.0 out of 5 stars For all jazz enthusiasts
I saw the original film back in 1960 and seeing it again on this DVD confirms my original thoughts that this is one if not the best film of jazz ever made. BRILLIANT!
Published 9 months ago by Mr Roger H Butler
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