A Great Day in Harlem

Overview

A Great Day in Harlem is a wonderful documentary about a seemingly ho-hum subject -- the taking of a photograph. Even when the photograph in question involves some of the greatest jazz musicians who ever lived, building a film around a static subject like a photograph is not an easy task. Jean Bach's achievement lies in making this come brilliantly alive; indeed, there's a surprising buoyancy and a sprightliness to the entire enterprise that makes the film unique. True, there's a great deal of information that is...
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Overview

A Great Day in Harlem is a wonderful documentary about a seemingly ho-hum subject -- the taking of a photograph. Even when the photograph in question involves some of the greatest jazz musicians who ever lived, building a film around a static subject like a photograph is not an easy task. Jean Bach's achievement lies in making this come brilliantly alive; indeed, there's a surprising buoyancy and a sprightliness to the entire enterprise that makes the film unique. True, there's a great deal of information that is imparted -- delightful little tidbits such as Maxine Sullivan having a gift for remembering even the most obscure of lyrics, or that asking Thelonious Monk who wore a light-colored jacket to make sure he stood out in the picture a question meant one would get a remarkably frank and truthful answer -- but what one remembers after viewing Great Day is not the various facts presented, or even the personalities of those discussed and/or interviewed. What one remembers is the feeling of joyful immediacy that the film evokes, truly making the viewer feel as if he or she were actually there in Harlem on the day in question. There are a number of complaints one could have about the film such as the flatness of the lighting and the subsequent dullness of some of the shots, but the little flaws seem truly miniscule in comparison with that wonderful feeling.
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Special Features

"Art Kane" featurette; "Bill Charlap and Kenny Washington" featurette; "Copycat Photos" featurette; "Stories from the Making of A Great Day in Harlem" featurette; Liner notes by Whitney Balliett; 2nd disc includes almost three hours of new video profiles of all of the musicians involved in the photograph
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/3/2006
  • UPC: 014381303520
  • Original Release: 1995
  • Rating:

  • Source: Homevision
  • Region Code: 0
  • Presentation: Special Edition / Full Frame
  • Time: 60:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 13,368

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dizzy Gillespie Interviewee
Art Blakey
Art Farmer Interviewee
Ernie Wilkins Interviewee
Mona Hinton Interviewee
Sonny Rollins Interviewee
Milt Hinton Interviewee
Hank Jones Interviewee
Gerry Mulligan Interviewee
Buck Clayton
Count Basie
Cab Calloway
Marian McPartland
Charles Mingus
Thelonious Monk
Hezekiah Leroy Gordon "Stuff" Smith
Jonah Jones
Quincy Jones Voice Only
Technical Credits
Jean Bach Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Johnny Mandel Consultant/advisor
Susan Peehl Editor, Screenwriter
Steve Petropoulos Cinematographer
Stuart Samuels Associate Producer
Matthew Seig Co-producer, Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- A Great Day in Harlem
1. Mutual Respect [1:06]
1. Individuality [1:40]
1. Jazz and Race [1:05]
1. About Bill [2:16]
1. About Kenny [1:58]
1. Learning From Listening [2:17]
1. Women [3:25]
1. Dizzy Gillespie: Teacher [1:45]
1. Dizzy Gillespie: Player [1:56]
1. Blakey Academy [1:39]
1. Jo Jones: Art of Brushes [2:41]
1. Johnny Griffin: "Way Before Trane" [:53]
1. Not Just Big Names [2:36]
1. Epilogue [:22]
1. Esquire Shoot [4:27]
2. Legendary Strides [5:29]
3. Early Call [7:56]
4. Idols & Contemporaries [10:57]
5. Loading the Film [10:13]
6. Surrendering to the Art [8:12]
7. The Magic Moment [10:55]
8. End Titles [1:25]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- A Great Day in Harlem
   Play Feature
   Bonus Material
      Stories from the Making of: A Great Day in Harlem
      Art Kane
      The Next Generation: Bill Charlap & Kenny Washington
         Play All
      The Copycat Photos
   Scene Selections
Disc #2 -- A Great Day in Harlem
   Explore the Photo
   Musicans A to Z
      Red Allan
      Buster Bailey
      Count Basie
      Emmett Berry
      Art Blakey
      Lawrence Brown
      Scoville Browne
      Buck Clayton
      Bill Crump
      Vic Dickenson
      Roy Eldridge
      Art Farmer
      Bud Freeman
      Dizzy Gillespie
      Tyree Glenn
      Benny Golson
      Sonny Greer
      Johnny Griffin
      Gigi Gryce
      Coleman Hawkins
      J.C. Heard
      Jay C. Higginbotham
      Milt Hinton
      Chubby Jackson
      Hilton Jefferson
      Osie Johnson
      Hank Jones
      Jimmy Jones
      Jo Jones
      Taft Jordan
      Taft Jordan Jr.
      Max Kaminsky
      Gene Krupa
      Eddie Locke
      Marian McPartland
      Charles Mingus
      Miff Mole
      Thelonious Monk
      Gerry Mulligan
      Oscar Pettiford
      Rudy Powell
      Luckey Roberts
      Sonny Rollins
      Jimmy Rushing
      Pee Wee Russell
      Sahib Shihab
      Horace Silver
      Zutty Singleton
      Stuff Smith
      Willie "The Lion" Smith
      Rex Stewart
      Maxine Sullivan
      Joe Thomas
      Wilbur Ware
      Dickie Wells
      George Wettling
      Ernie Wilkins
      Mary Lou Williams
      Lester Young
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