September 3, 2020 - 3:38pm
Posted by Jim Healy

Thelonius Monk in Jazz on a Summer's Day

The UW Cinematheque's free series of view-at-home movies starts again this week with an opportunity to view the acclaimed and influential music documentary Jazz on a Summer's Day (1959)

JAZZ ON A SUMMER'S DAY (1959, 85 min.) Filmed at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island and directed by world-renowned photographer Bert Stern, Jazz on a Summer's Day features intimate performances by an all-star line-up of musical legends including Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Anita O'Day, Chuck Berry, Dinah Washington, and closes with a stunning midnight rendition of The Lord's Prayer by Mahalia Jackson to usher in Sunday morning. Setting the template for all contemporary concert movies, Jazz on a Summer’s Day features the innovative editing of soon-to-be-director Aram Avakian (End of the Road, Cops and Robbers) and has been beautifully and extensively restored in 4K from the best surviving vault elements by IndieCollect.​

Beginning September 3, the Cinematheque has a limited number of opportunities to view this new restoration of Jazz on a Summer’s Day at home for free. To receive access, send an email to and make sure to have the word JAZZ in the subject line or the first line of the email.

On our Cinematalk podcast, we proudly present a new episode exploring Jazz on a Summer's Day. On the first segment, UW Madison Film Professor Jeff Smith talks with the Cinematheque's Mike King about the cultural and historical significance of the artists who appeared at Newport and the influence of Jazz on a Summer’s Day on subsequently made concert movies. In the second segment, Cinematheque's Ben Reiser talks with his fellow SUNY Purchase classmates, filmmakers Jeff Kushner and Bob Gosse, about their Film Professor, Aram Avakian, and Avakian's contributions to Jazz on a Summer's Day. Listen below or here on Soundcloud.

Stay healthy and safe. We value your support for the Cinematheque and we look forward to being able to watch movies with you soon in the proper cinematic settings of 4070 Vilas Hall and the Chazen Museum of Art.