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© Art Kane, 1958
Shot for Esquire Magazine in August 1958, this was Art Kane’s first major assignment as a photographer. Kane pitched the idea of a huge group portrait to be shot on location in Harlem. No one knew, with the early call hour of 10:00 am, whether anyone would show up, but they did.
Fifty-eight legendary giants of jazz including Lester Young, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Thelonious Monk, Coleman Hawkins, Mary Lou Williams, Horace Silver, Gene Krupa, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins and more and more and more. The global impact of this image cannot be underestimated.
It’s the subject of an Academy Award nominated documentary A Great Day In Harlem, it’s been recreated in homage dozens of times with Hip Hop artists, jazz, rock, blues, klezmer, classical musicians and more, it’s the subject of two award-winning children’s books, and was the ultimate plot point of Steven Spielberg’s movie The Terminal starring Tom Hanks.