A Great Day in Harlem (1995)

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This Oscar nominated documentary chronicles a single event amongst jazz musicians: the day in 1958 when many of the greatest gathered together for a photo shoot for Esquire magazine. A fair portion of the film is devoted to that which lead up to the photograph. The session itself is also detailed as jazz greats Count Basie, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Milt Hinton, and more rose at the ungodly hour of 10 am to take the picture in a Harlem brownstone apartment.

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Critic Reviews for A Great Day in Harlem

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (9)

If you wanted to introduce someone to what jazz is all about, this would be an ideal place to start.

Oct 17, 2007 | Full Review…

For non-buffs, pic fails the acid test of exciting interest where there was little or none before; it could easily have covered the same ground in half its length.

Oct 17, 2007

A wonderful, warm little movie.

Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
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Monumental.

Dec 29, 2005
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Anyone with the misconception that the spirit of a particular music is not a direct reflection of the souls of the musicians who created it must see A Great Day in Harlem, Jean Bach's small and very moving documentary about the jazz life.

Aug 30, 2004 | Rating: 4.5/5

It's a funny and moving film whose swinging rhythms and informal tone capture a feeling for the music, the people who make it and the affection and respect they feel for each other and the art form.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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