In the documentary Jazz on a Summer’s Day, filmed at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, the photographer and director Bert Stern deploys ravishing color to depict the youthful budding of a rapturous, color-blind America.

It’s been called a political statement, and so it is: what seems an idyll to us—beer-steeped lovers dancing on a roof, races mingling racily on the stage and off—must have seemed, to the starched elders of Newport in the late 50s, stark proof of the nation’s decline and a harbinger of its imminent fall. (Or, at least, of the ethanol-fueled riots that would shut down the festival two years later.)