November 13, 2009

Jazz on a Summer's Day

I have a new favorite movie, and it is called Jazz on a Summer's Day. Somehow Netflix knew that I would enjoy it (don't you love when that happens?) and as soon as I saw the DVD cover art and read the description I was sold. "Filmed at the 1958 Jazz Festival at Newport, Rhode Island, this easygoing documentary affords an intimate, atmospheric glimpse of a historically significant musical event. Performing at the festival were jazz heavyweights such as Louis Armstrong, Chuck Berry, Thelonious Monk, Mahalia Jackson, Dinah Washington, Gerry Mulligan and Anita O'Day. Fascinating viewing for jazz and documentary fans alike."

This film is so beautifully shot and the music is sooo good, that I watched it twice in a row while I was working at home the other day. Director Bert Stern is probably best known for his beautiful photographs of iconic female actresses such as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. It's his photographer's eye that makes every shot of this film look like a still from the pages of LIFE Magazine circa 1958, when all the ladies wore red lipstick and the gents looked dapper with their clean haircuts and cool shades. Couldn't recommend it more.

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