Art Kane’s “A Great Day in Harlem” or “Harlem 1958” Hangs Next to Parrot Stage
Sunday Jazz Continues at The Green Parrot every Sunday from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. featuring Mike Emerson, Hal Howland, Joe Dallas, and Mark Rose.
As a sidebar on Green Parrot Sunday Jazz, as well as Green Parrot memorabilia, pictured here is “A Great Day in Harlem”, also known as “Harlem 1958″, arguably the most famous Jazz photograph ever, the black-and-white photograph of 57 jazz musicians in Harlem, New York, taken by freelance photographer Art Kane for Esquire magazine on August 12, 1958 and published in its January 1959 Golden Age of Jazz special issue.
We originally thought the photo would be a nice addition to the decor of the band house out back, but after seeing it framed, seeing its’ impact and significance not just as a piece of art but as a piece of history, we decided even though real estate on the Parrot walls is at a premium, this needed to be in the bar, near the stage, so that’s where it landed.
The musicians gathered at 17 East 126th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenue. They are all in there: Monk, Mulligan, Basie, Gillespie, Mingus and more, from the unknown to the world famous, duly assembled at the unlikely hour of 10 am.
Kane called together as many jazz soloists as he could round up and in all, 58 musicians (“55 cats and 3 chicks,” as one jazz writer described them) heeded a highly un-jazzlike 10 a.m. call to a stoop at 17 East 126th Street in Harlem, and 57 found their way into Kane’s immortal image, one, Willie (the Lion) Smith, got tired and was sitting on the stoop next door when Kane took his shot. Another, as Whitney Balliett later wrote in The New Yorker, was “astonished to discover that there were two 10 o’clocks in each day”.
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