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12 August 2008, by
See online : A Great Day In Harlem
The 57 musicians in the photograph were: Red Allen, Buster Bailey, Count Basie, Emmett Berry, Art Blakey, Lawrence Brown, Scoville Browne, Buck Clayton, Bill Crump, Vic Dickenson, Roy Eldridge, Art Farmer, Bud Freeman, Dizzy Gillespie, Tyree Glenn, Benny Golson, Sonny Greer, Johnny Griffin, Gigi Gryce, Coleman Hawkins, J.C. Heard, Jay C. Higginbotham, Milt Hinton, Chubby Jackson, Hilton Jefferson, Osie Johnson, Hank Jones, Jo Jones, Jimmy Jones, Taft Jordan, Max Kaminsky, Gene Krupa, Eddie Locke, Marian McPartland, Charles Mingus, Miff Mole, Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Oscar Pettiford, Rudy Powell, Luckey Roberts, Sonny Rollins, Jimmy Rushing, Pee Wee Russell, Sahib Shihab, Horace Silver, Zutty Singleton, Stuff Smith, Rex Stewart, Maxine Sullivan, Joe Thomas, Wilbur Ware, Dickie Wells, George Wettling, Ernie Wilkins, Mary Lou Williams and Lester Young.
Noteworthy absent musicians were: Louis Armstrong, Ray Brown, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Erroll Garner, Stan Getz, Billie Holiday, Anita O’Day, Oscar Peterson, Max Roach, Ben Webster…
’A Great Day in Harlem’ is an hour-long documentary film by Jean Bach (1994) that brings to life this remarkable moment in the history of jazz.
NOTE: view also this movie (you will understand why at the end)
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)