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The Great Jazz Day: The Story of the Classic Photographs and the Unforgettable Film Paperback – November 4, 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Duane Press (November 4, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0942627350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0942627350
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.4 x 11.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,604,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Peterson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
In August 1958, Esquire magazine sought to assemble as many jazz musicians as possible for a group portrait on the steps of a brownstone apartment building on West 126th Street in Harlem. The shoot was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on August 12th, and no one knew how many musicians (many of whom probably were working/playing until the wee hours of the night before) would actually show up. As it turned out, 58 did, so many that for their picture the group spilled out onto the sidewalk at the base of the apartment building stairs.

The photographer for the shoot was Art Kane, a freelance art director who had virtually no experience as a photographer. He ended up taking 120 black-and-white exposures. One was selected for a double-page spread in Esquire's January 1959 issue, "The Golden Age of Jazz." That photo is indeed a fitting memorial of the Golden Age of Jazz, because among the 58 who showed up -- or the 57 included in the photo itself (Willie "the Lion" Smith, having sat down on the stairs to the brownstone next door in order to rest, did not make it into the final photo) -- were such luminaries as Red Allen, Count Basie, Art Blakey, Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins, Hank Jones, Gene Krupa, Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Rollins, Mary Lou Williams, and Lester Young. But the photo is so much more than another historical portrait of the great and famous. With so many people, and given the irrepressible personalities of many of them, some, of course, are ignoring Art Kane's "cheese": Marian McPartland and Mary Lou Williams have their heads turned towards each other (engaging in girl talk?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike Tarrani HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on March 31, 2013
Format: Paperback
The title of this book references a photo - in this case one that was shot in the morning of August 12, 1958 A Great Day in Harlem - and a film. The film is Jean Bach's A Great Day in Harlem that more augments this book than this book chronicles the film.

Covering nearly 150 pages this book is mainly about a photo that was shot by a photographer with no experience (at the time). The photo became one of the most iconic pictures in jazz history and even managed to become a star (of sorts) in Tom Hanks' movie titled The Terminal.

True, the middle section of this three section book veers a little off topic, but overall is filled with factual and anecdotal tidbits that bring the photo to life. Here are the sections:

I - The Big Picture. Here is there you are treated to stories as related by both principals and subjects about the morning of the photo, as well as events leading to it - and an aftermath. Art Kane, Mike Lipskin and Robert Benton add a lot of context as they remember their participation, and the personal accounts by Milt Hinton, Horace Silver, Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Rollins add depth and texture to the story.

II - Trumpet Players in Central Park is a short section about another photo of just the trumpet players. Personally I feel that this part of the book loses some of the focus. On the other hand, it does provide an historical record of an alternate photo so it's not lost in the fog of history.
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By Jezabel on April 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I saw this book at a shop in Greenville and did not have time to really read it. My boyfriend and I were very interested in the story so I looked it up and found it for him. It is intended to be a gift upon our return trip. It has great photos along with some very interesting information on Americas legendary Jazz artists. This is a great book for coffee table conversation or to allow children to gain insight into a piece of music history.
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By David John George on August 11, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A superb photographic record of the great jazz era with informative and interesting articles
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