A Great Day in Harlem

If one photograph could convey the jazz scene in New York City in the late 1950’s, this would be it.

Around ten one morning in the summer of 1958, 57 musicians representing three generations of jazz history showed up at 126th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues in Harlem to be photographed by Art Kane, a freelance photographer working for Esquire magazine. The photo was eventually published in the January, 1959 issue. This photo also became the basis of a documentary film produced by veteran radio producer, Jean Bach of New York. The film won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1994.  It’s available on DVD and VHS. 

It was at a screening of this film in the spring of 1996 that I first saw avant-jazz legend Joe Gallivan, who had been part of the jazz scene during that time in New York City, in concert on Maui.  By the end of that year, we had begun to find our way as a couple.