In August of 1958, in front of a Harlem brownstone, first-time photographer Art Kane assembled 57 of the greatest jazz stars of all time and snapped a picture that would live forever. Narrated by Quincy Jones, this "irresistible", Academy Award-nominated documentary (1995) examines the fascinating lives of the musicians who showed up that day to make history. Through remarkable interviews with nearly 30 jazz greats (including Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins and Art Blakey), home movies shot by Milt and Mona Hinton, and rare, archival performance footage, feature tells the story behind a legendary photograph that is still alive and kicking - and jammin'!
Short and sweet
- A Great Day in Harlem review by JW
A absolutely fascinating snapshot of the New York jazz scene in the fifties. Although only an hour in length, you get to learn a lot about the personalities of the big names in jazz. While the music may be familiar, the personal interactions between these stars is eye-opening. The added DVD features are also interesting. All in all, this film makes a good opening feature to accompany other jazz films such as 'Bird' or 'Round Midnight'.