A Great Day for Leamington Spa

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Art Kane's famous photo "Harlem 1958". Courtesy Art Kane Archive

Many readers will know about Art Kane’s famous photograph A Great Day In Harlem, which was published in Esquire magazine. In 1958 Kane put the word around New York for any jazz musicians to go along to a brownstone in Harlem and have their photograph taken. Instead of the dozen or so he thought might show, 57 turned up.

Their number included many of the greats – Count Basie, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Mary Lou Williams, Horace Silver, Gene Krupa, Maxine Sullivan, Roy Eldridge, Gerry Mulligan, Coleman Hawkins, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Marian McPartland, Johnny Griffin, Jimmy Rushing, Miff Mole, Lester Young, Willie the Lion Smith and many others from all styles of jazz.

Jean Bach’s film of the same name, made in 1994, tells the story of this remarkable event, featuring interviews with some of those involved and including footage filmed by bassist Milt Hinton and his wife Mona.

The film is rarely seen in the UK as nobody is handling the rights to it in the country at present, but after corresponding with its co-producer, Matthew Seig, Leamington Spa jazz promoters In The Moment have been given the ok, and it will be shown at the Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, on Sunday 7 July at 7.30pm.

It will be introduced by Matthew Wright and after the film there will be live music with trumpeter Bruce Adams, who coincidentally played with Milt Hinton. Bruce will be accompanied by John Patrick (p), Adrian Litvinoff (b) and Tom Voce (d). More details are here.