Must-See Concert Films in Black Music: Newport Jazz Fest + More

Without Black musicians, music would not be where it's at today. They gave us blues, jazz, hip hop, rap, and yes, rock n roll. The fact is that American music wouldn't be where it is today without African / Black influences.
It's more important than ever that in this crucial time when we must focus our energy on Black Lives Matter, we have to relearn history itself, including music. To help embrace those roots, we've compiled a list of must-see films that feature legendary concerts from over the decades by black musicians, even if it's a revisit for you. We've also tacked on any available setlists to accompany the footage!
Check it out below.

Jazz on a Summer's Day

WHAT: A concert film set at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island. The iconic fest featured acts like Chuck Berry, Thelonious Monk, Anita O'Day, Dinah Washington, Louis Armstrong, and more.
Chuck Berry
Thelonious Monk
Anita O'Day
Dinah Washington

Jimi Plays Berkeley

WHAT: Featuring the legendary Hendrix performing a unique set during his two night performance at Berkeley Community Theater on May 30, 1971.
WHERE: YouTube
Jimi Hendrix


WHAT: Beyonce's Beychella performance at Coachella 2018, plus additional footage.
WHERE: Netflix


WHAT: Memphis' Stax Records carried several of the most legendary artists that made up the sounds of the Black South. This film features their 1972 concert in South Central Los Angeles at the Coliseum, benefitting neighborhoods torn apart by the late 1960s riots. Watch performances by Staple Singers, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Isaac Hayes, and more.
WHERE: YouTube or HBO Max
Isaac Hayes
The Staple Singers
Carla Thomas
Rufus Thomas

Prince: Sign O' The Times

WHAT: Watch the epic artist perform during his 1987 European tour. Most of the audio was re-recorded live at Paisley Park. The film captures the true essence of a Prince concert.
WHERE: Amazon Prime

Amazing Grace

WHAT: Watch the incomparable Aretha Franklin go back to her gospel roots in this intimate concert film from January 1972, at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles.
WHERE: Amazon
Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin
With the current state of the world, it's important to raise awareness and encourage our readers to take action in support of the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement. We compiled a list or resources to help guide you in the right direction to begin helping today - check it out HERE.
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Last updated: 9 Jul 2020, 18:25 Etc/UTC