Art

(More of) “A Great Day in Harlem”

 

photo Art Kane Archive

“A Great Day in Harlem”

 August 12, 1958

 

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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

 

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photo Art Kane Archive

From left, Roy Eldridge, Gene Krupa and Rex Stewart

 

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photo Art Kane Archive

Luckey Robers and Willie “the Lion” Smith

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

To visit the publisher’s website, click here.