(1959)4.5Bob MastrangeloBefore The Last Waltz, Woodstock, or even Monterey Pop, there was Jazz on a Summer's Day. The granddaddy of the all-star concert film, it is a feast for the jazz enthusiast and features a parade of musical giants. Each viewer will have his or her own favorite moments, and highlights include Anita O'Day's showstopping rendition of "Sweet Georgia Brown," Dinah Washington belting out "All of Me,", and a medley of tunes from Louis Armstrong. Chuck Berry also delivers an enthusiastic version of "Sweet Little Sixteen," complete with his trademark duck walk, and Mahalia Jackson powerfully wraps things up with some gospel. As important as this film is as a record of jazz history, it is also impressive as documentary filmmaking. While never straying from the edict that the prime focus is on the performing artist, filmmaker Bert Stern also avoids randomly plopping the camera down on the stage. Instead he moves the camera in on the performers, providing a musical intimacy that must have been rare in the 1950s. He also regularly goes out amongst the audience, making the audience and their reaction to the concert almost as much a part of the film as the music itself. An invaluable contribution is made by editor Aram Avakian, who pieces together all of this footage, as well as shots from in and around Newport, into a coherent recount of a classic concert, and frequently does so by beautifully editing the film in rhythm with the music. In 1999, Jazz on a Summer's Day was added by the Library of Congress to its National Film Registry, designating it as a film landmark, and the film's significance as both a historical record and quality filmmaking is evident throughout.