In 1958, the Music and Fashion Photographer Art Kane Gathered Together 57 of the Most Significant Figures in Jazz Music around the Stoops of 17 West 126th Street in Harlem, New York. The Shoot, Known as “A Great Day in Harlem,” was Commissioned for Esquire Magazine‘s January 1959 Issue, and Sitters Included Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, Coleman Hawkins, and Count Basie.

Art Kane's iconic black-and-white photograph of a group of jazz luminaries gathered around a stoop in Harlem.

A Great Day in Harlem (1958) (foto Art Kane | Art Kane Archive)

The List of Jazz Greats

  1. Hilton Jefferson (1903-1968)
  2. Benny Golson (1929-)
  3. Art Farmer (1928-2003)
  4. Wilbur Ware (1923-1979)
  5. Art Blakey (1919-1990)
  6. Chubby Jackson (1918-2003)
  7. Johnny Griffin (1928-2008)
  8. Dickie Wells (1909-1985)
  9. Buck Clayton (1911-1993)
  10. Taft Jordan (1915-1981)
  11. Zutty Singleton (1898-1975)
  12. Henry “Red” Allen (1908-1967)
  13. Tyree Glenn (1912-1972)
  14. Miff Mole (1898-1961)
  15. Sonny Greer (1903-1982)
  16. J.C. Higginbotham (1906-1973)
  17. Jimmy Jones (1918-1982)
  18. Charles Mingus (1922-1979)
  19. Jo Jones (1911-1985)
  20. Gene Krupa (1909-1973)
  21. Max Kaminsky (1908-1994)
  22. George Wettling (1907-1968)
  23. Bud Freeman (1906-1988)
  24. Pee Wee Russell (1906-1969)
  25. Ernie Wilkins (1922-1999)
  26. Buster Bailey (1902-1967)
  27. Osie Johnson (1923-1968)
  28. Gigi Gryce (1927-1983)
  29. Hank Jones (1918-2010)
  30. Eddie Locke (1930-2009)
  31. Horace Silver (1928-2014)
  32. Luckey Roberts (1887-1968)
  33. Maxine Sullivan (1911-1987)
  34. Jimmy Rushing (1902-1972)
  35. Joes Thomas (1909-1984)
  36. Scoville Browne (1915-1994)
  37. Stuff Smith (1909-1967)
  38. Bill Crump (1919-1980s)
  39. Coleman Hawkins (1904-1969)
  40. Rudy Powell (1907-1976)
  41. Oscar Pettiford (1922-1960)
  42. Sahib Shihab (1925-1993)
  43. Marian McPartland (1920-2013)
  44. Sonny Rollins (1929-)
  45. Lawrence Brown (1905-1988)
  46. Mary Lou Williams (1910-1981)
  47. Emmett Berry (1915-1993)
  48. Thelonious Monk (1917-1982)
  49. Vic Dickenson (1906-1984)
  50. Milt Hinton (1910-2000)
  51. Lester “Pres” Young (1909-1959)
  52. Rex Stewart (1907-1972)
  53. J.C. Heard (1917-1988)
  54. Gerry Mulligan (1927-1995)
  55. Roy Eldridge (1911-1989)
  56. Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993)
  57. William “Count” Basie (1904-1984)

Article Research Courtesy of Open Culture & Jazzwise Magazine

Forty Years Later, the Photographer Gordon Parks Paid Hommage to Kane’s Shoot with A Photograph that Gathered 177 Rappers and Hip Hop Artists on that Same Stoop in Harlem. Legendary Figures in the Photo, Titled A Great Day in Hip Hop, Included Busta Rhymes, Rakim, Slick Rick, Da Brat, Revered Rum, Fat Joe, and Naughty by Nature. Members of the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, and the Wu Tang Clan were Also Invited but dDid Not Attend.

Sheena Lester. (foto XXL)

The Shoot was Commissioned by Hip Hop Magazine XXL’s Editor in Chief Sheena Lester and Became the Largest Gathering of Musicians in A Single Image in History. By 1998, the Front Door Seen in Kane’s Shot had Been Boarded Over, as had the Left Window.

A massive group made up of hip-hop figures gathered around a stoop in Harlem.

Rev Run Arrives (1998) (foto Johanna Fiore)

Now, as Hip Hop Enters its 51st Year, an Installation at the Rotunda of New York’s City Hall is Celebrating that Great Day with A Behind the Scenes Glimpse of the Shoot. TitledHip Hop’s Greatest Day,” the Show Features Shots by Jonathan Rheingold, then Publisher and Co Founder of XXL, and Those by the Magazine’s Editor Ben Osborne and Parks’s Protégé, Johanna Fiore. Flyers and Posters from the Early Days of Hip Hop in New York, Featuring Icons from Run DMC to Salt N Pepa to DJ Kool Herc, are Also Included.

Black and white portrait of a man, rapper Rakim, leaning in to speak to another man.

Rakim (1998) (foto Jonathan Rheingold)

In A Statement, Rheingold said he “Made It A Mission to Identify Folks Who were Snap­ping Photos on 126th Street That Day and Developed the Largest Archive of Behind the Scenes Photos Documenting that Great Day.” Parks May Not have Been A Fan of Hip Hop, he added, but “He Understood the Importance of this Opportunity. And Sheena Lester, Who was the Editor in Chief at the Time, Really Convinced him that There was Really No Other Photographer that One Could Possibly Think of That Would Be More Suitable to Capture Such an Amazing Moment than him, and he Took It On.”

A man, rapper Slick Rick, photographed in a suit, with heavy jewelry, and an eye patch.

Slick Rick (1998) (foto Jonathan Rheingold)

The Installation is Part of Rheingold’s Ongoing Efforts to Celebrate the Historical Shoot, which includes A Five Episode Audio Series, The Greatest Day, on What Went into Planning and Engineering the Photo.

We are So Thrilled to Have the Mayor’s Office and Department of Cultural Affairs Really Give Us A Venue to Share This with the Rest of the City,” he said. “Hip Hop is Part of the Fabric of New York History, So Of Course it Belongs in City Hall.”

Hip Hop’s Greatest Day” is On View at City Hall Park, New York, Through June 24. It Can Be Visited by Joining A Public Tour.

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