Great Day in Harlem

MPAA Rating: G

Entertainment: +3

Content: +4

At 10:00 A.M. in front of a brownstone apartment in Brooklyn, New York, about 30 of the all-time great jazz musicians came for a picture. The year was 1958 and the picture is now famous as the one group photo of such jazz greats as Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Lester Young and Willie Smith. Jean Bach has now captured the mixed feelings of awe, nostalgia and excitement that went into that picture. In documentary style, she interviews some of the remaining living artists about that day and the people who were there. Following in almost orchestral preciseness, we learn about the great pianists, trumpet, sax, trombone and drum players of the great jazz era of the 40's and 50's in New York. We hear from Art Kane, the photographer whose first professional picture became so famous. And we hear some of the music that made these artists famous enough to have their picture taken together. A GREAT DAY IN HARLEM could have been even better if it had been longer. But at a little over an hour long, we are just getting into the swing of the movie and it's over. Music lovers will appreciate this fine tribute to the great jazz and blues artists who are still being heard today.

The respect for these musicians only grows when you hear how well-spoken they are. Unlike so many entertainment icons today, none of those interviewed in this film use foul language, but get their points across persuasively and passionately. One mild crude word is the only bad item you'll hear in this film, which makes it true music for your ears. A short discussion on what the musicians eat is a puzzling tangent of the film, but is intended to be humorous. More stories about the different musicians would have been wonderful, as well as interviews of audience members who may have heard these great musicians, but the film hangs together well enough. A GREAT DAY IN HARLEM is a superb documentary worthy of its title.

Preview Reviewer: Greg Wilson
Castle Hill Productions, 8899 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: One mild word

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: None

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: None

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Young adults and older

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