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Home page > I. Public > 2. Chez Euterpe > A Great Day In Harlem

A Great Day In Harlem

12 August 2008, by CeD

On August 12th 1958, photographer Art Kane gathered 58 jazz musicians at 17 East 126th Street (NYC) for Esquire Magazine and took a memorable picture of 57 among them.

See online : A Great Day In Harlem


37 years later, same place. A pic­ture with in­finite sad­ness.

“For its February 1996 is­sue, Life magazine sought to recre­ate his­to­ry when Gordon Parks was com­mis­sioned to pho­tograph eleven of the sur­viv­ing mem­bers of the orig­i­nal pho­tograph on the steps of the brown­stone build­ing at 17 West 126th Street in Harlem. Sonny Rollins and Ernie Wilkins were un­able to at­tend, but po­si­tioned as they were on that ’great day’ in 1958 were Hank Jones, Eddie Locke, Horace Silver, Gerry Mulligan, Milt Hinton, Chubby Jackson, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Johnny Griffin, Marian McPartland and Taft Jordan Jr. (seat­ed), who had ac­com­pa­nied his trum­peter fa­ther to the orig­i­nal shoot and sat on the curb right next to Count Basie. The build­ing, now a roof­less shell, had not held up as well as had some of the mu­si­cians. Contributing pho­tog­ra­pher, Gordon Parks, took the pic­ture, a sort of vic­to­ry lap for the sur­vivors (Okrent, 1996). For Marian McPartland, the on­ly wom­an sur­vivor, her mem­o­ries of the day were bit­ter sweet, and she la­ment­ed, ’I was filled with both fond mem­o­ries and sad­ness. The house where we stood was all bro­ken down and board­ed up’ (Carson, 1996).

(Picture by Gordon Parks, win­ter 1995-96)

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