Friday, September 30, 2011

A Great Day in Harlem

You may already know about the famous 1958 photograph titled "A Great Day in Harlem" and featuring many of the greatest jazz musicians of the time. But did you know about the 1994 documentary of the same name? It's about how the photo came to be, and includes lots of behind-the-scenes photos shot by the musicians' wives and a good deal of archival interview footage from the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Hinton, Marian McPartland, and Buck Clayton. My wife and I watched it a while back when we still had a Netflix subscription (it's still available there, on whatever they are calling it now). Definitely worth wasting an hour on.

I use the photo for my laptop wallpaper, so I spend a fair amount of time staring at it. My favorite parts are:
  • Dizzy Gillespie and Roy Eldridge (lower right hand corner), cracking each other up.
  • Count Basie sitting on the curb.
  • Stuff Smith, looking like he probably hasn't changed clothes since finishing last night's gig, smoking (who knows what?) with Coleman Hawkins
  • Drummers Jo Jones, Gene Krupa, and Sonny Greer all hangin' out. Jones was the drummer for the Count Basie Orchestra, Krupa for Benny Goodman (before leading his own band), and Greer for Duke Ellington.

No comments:

Post a Comment