7 user 12 critic

A Great Day in Harlem (1994)

The documentary compiles interviews of all the top jazz musicians in NYC in the year 1958, for a piece in Esquire magazine.


Jean Bach
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Quincy Jones ... Self - Narrator
Dizzy Gillespie ... Self
Sonny Rollins ... Self
Buck Clayton ... Self
Art Blakey ... Self
Hank Jones Hank Jones ... Self
Art Farmer Art Farmer ... Self
Johnny Griffin ... Self
Milt Hinton Milt Hinton ... Self
Chubby Jackson Chubby Jackson ... Self
Scoville Browne Scoville Browne ... Self
Felix Maxwell Felix Maxwell ... Self
Paula Morris Paula Morris ... Self
Taft Jordan Jr. Taft Jordan Jr. ... Self
Everard Powell Everard Powell ... Self


Art Kane, now deceased, coordinated a group photograph of all the top jazz musicians in NYC in the year 1958, for a piece in Esquire magazine. Just about every jazz musician at the time showed up for the photo shoot which took place in front of a brownstone near the 125th street station. The documentary compiles interviews of many of the musicians in the photograph to talk about the day of the photograph, and it shows film footage taken that day by Milt Hinton and his wife. Written by Daren Gill

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Documentary | Music


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A Great Day for Jazz Buffs
10 April 2005 | by BerkeleyFarmerSee all my reviews

Imagine gathering 57 of the greatest legends, the creme de la creme, the absolute je ne sais quoi elite of the American art form; the people who created, shaped, formed and reformed, coddled and nursed, and were themselves that art form. The men and women of Jazz, capital "jay", in 1958. Imagine gathering not a dozen or so, but 57 of the greatest, most influential musicians of the day. In one place. At the same time. To capture one photograph.

Now try to imagine not only how difficult that feat would be, but consider that the photo shoot was scheduled for daylight hours when jazz musicians are just getting home from their all-night gigs!!

And yet, without having a real sense at the significance of the gathering at the time, one man, Art Kane, was able to accomplish that feat. What remains is not only the still black and white image of that one moment, but the moving pictures recorded before, during and after the photo was taken.

This film is a labor of love. Of love for the craft of jazz. Of love for the craftspeople of jazz. Of love for the art of jazz.

On the ode scale, which rates movies based on the total cost of seeing it versus the quality of the film itself: Definitely worth the cost of a full-price admission, plus large popcorn and large drink. Worth seeing even if you have to pay a baby sitter and a cab fare. Seeing it on the big screen is the only way to get the full impact, the full resonance of what this day represented then and what it represents to jazz lovers today.

Plus, it is pure joy to watch the Giants at play!

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Release Date:

24 February 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Great Day in Harlem See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$21,078, 20 February 1995

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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