A Great Day in Harlem
A Great Day in Harlem or Harlem 1958 is a 1958 black and white group portrait of 57 notable jazz musicians photographed in front of a brownstone in Harlem, New York City. The photo has remained an important object in the study of the history of jazz.
Art Kane, a freelance photographer working for Esquire magazine, took the picture around 10 a.m. on August 12 in the summer of 1958. The musicians had gathered at 17 East 126th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues in Harlem. Esquire published the photo in its January 1959 issue. Kane calls it "the greatest picture of that era of musicians ever taken."
Jean Bach, a radio producer of New York, recounted the story behind it in her 1994 documentary film, A Great Day in Harlem. The film was nominated in 1995 for an Academy Award for Documentary Feature.
As of August 2013[update], only 3 of the 57 musicians who participated are still living (see starred names in the list below.)
Musicians in the photograph
The photo was a key plot point in Steven Spielberg's film The Terminal. The film starred Tom Hanks as Viktor Navorski, a character who comes to the United States in search of Benny Golson's autograph, with which he can complete his deceased father's collection of autographs from the musicians pictured in the photo.
- About the documentary
- "Jazz's Most Iconic Photo is Half a Century Old" by Alan Kurtz (Jazz.com)
- Review of A Great Day in Harlem
- An interactive version of A Great Day in Harlem showing the musicians' names