(More of) “A Great Day in Harlem”

October 3rd, 2018


photo Art Kane Archive

“A Great Day in Harlem”

 August 12, 1958




An iconic image of music history is Art Kane’s August 12, 1958 photograph of 57 of the music’s most important (and now beloved) figures in jazz music, who congregated on the curb and stairs at 17 East 126th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenue.

Forever known simply as “A Great Day in Harlem,” the photograph was taken, as John Leland reminds us in the September 28 edition of the New York Times, in the era when “the generation of Count Basie and Duke Ellington was yielding to the newer bebop players, who in turn were starting to be challenged by the next wave, not seen in this shot.”  Many in New York’s scene came that morning, among them Monk, Basie, Dizzy, Coleman Hawkins, Mary Lou Williams, Gene Krupa, Mingus, Sonny Rollins, and Lester Young.

While the photograph of the entire group is well-known, other shots taken by Kane during that morning are not.  A recently released book, Art Kane: Harlem 1958 (Wall of Sound Editions) features other photos taken during the shoot, and, as Leland writes, “the effect is one of a big band broken into smaller units and then reassembled, giving the members a chance to step out and then back into their familiar arrangement.”

According to the publisher’s website, the book is a “visual history of an iconic image, including, for the first time, virtually every single frame from the historic shoot,” as well as “original text by Art Kane, forewords by Quincy Jones and Benny Golson, and an introduction by Kane’s son Jonathan.”

The book will be available in November.  Meanwhile, three photos from it are pictured below…



photo Art Kane Archive

From left, Jo Jones, Eddie Locke and Jimmy Rushing




photo Art Kane Archive

From left, Roy Eldridge, Gene Krupa and Rex Stewart




photo Art Kane Archive

Luckey Robers and Willie “the Lion” Smith



To read Leland’s piece in the New York Times about this book, click here.

To visit the publisher’s website, click here.






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In This Issue

This issue features an interview with Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins; a collection of poetry devoted to the World War II era; and a new edition of “Reminiscing in Tempo,” in which the question “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz recordings of the 1940’s” is posed to Rickie Lee Jones, Chick Corea, Tom Piazza and others.


In this edition of Reminiscing in Tempo,, Chick Corea, Rickie Lee Jones, Tom Piazza, Gary Giddins, Randy Brecker, Michael Cuscuna, Terry Teachout and many others answer the question, “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite recordings of the 1940’s?”


Interview with Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins, author of the new book "Swinging on a Star: The War Years, 1940 - 1946"


Eight poets — John Stupp, Aurora Lewis, Michael L. Newell, Robert Nisbet, Alan Yount, Roger Singer, dan smith and Joan Donovan — write about the era of World War II

The Joys of Jazz

Award winning radio producer and host Bob Hecht shares his love of jazz through his podcasts on his site “The Joys of Jazz.” In this edition, he tells two stories; the history of the virtual anthem of World War II, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and the friendship and musical rapport of Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong.

Short Fiction

Hannah Draper of Ottawa, Ontario is the winner of the 49th Jerry Jazz Musician New Short Fiction Award. Her story is titled "Will You Play For Me?"

Coming Soon

Three prominent scholars in a conversation about the lives of Billie Holiday, Ralph Ellison, and Langston Hughes (pictured)

Contributing writers

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