"Harlem 1958" , also known as "A Great Day in Harlem," is a black-and-white photograph of 57 jazz musicians who gathered at 17 East 126th Street -- a brownstone here in northeast Harlem between Fifth & Madison. 

Freelance photographer Art Kane took the photo on August 12, 1958, and it was then published in the January 1959 issue of Esquire.
“I came up with the idea of getting as many musicians together in one place as we could," Kane later said of the shoot. "It would be sort of a graduation photo or class picture of all the jazz musicians. After I thought about it some more, I decided they should get together in Harlem. After all, that’s where jazz started when it came to New York."

Many of the musicians -- who included Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Benny Golson and Count Basie -- met up under the N.Y. Central (now Metro-North) Railroad at 125th Street, and the station was soon overrun with jazz musicians before they started to move west along 126th Street.

"One by one, these extraordinary people showed up," Kane remembered. "Next thing you know, I was standing there, watching them all move into that street. The thing is, I couldn't control it, because you had musicians who hadn't seen each other in one solid congregation probably ever before."

Help us commemorate the 60th anniversary of the historic photograph by co-naming the block on East 126th between Fifth & Madison “Art Kane: Harlem 1958 Place."  More details to come!

dizzy gillespie.jpg

john birks “DIZZY” GILLESPIE (1917-1993)

Easily recognized by his puffed-out cheeks and unusual angular trumpet, Dizzie Gillespie was one of the key figures in the birth of the brash, speedy, lopsided jazz known as "bebop." Nicknamed "Dizzy" because of his comical antics, Gillespie played a trumpet with the bell angled upward at 45 degrees, a quirk which became his signature.

From his playlist:

-- Salt Peanuts

-- A Night In Tunisia

-- Manteca

count basie.png


The title of one of his band’s most famous tunes -- “The Kid from Red Bank” -- is a tip-off that William “Count” Basie was born in Red Bank, N.J. Many associate him with Kansas City, however, since that's where his music really took off. Known for innovations such as the use of two "split" tenor saxophones and the contrapuntal accents of his own piano, Basie got the name "Count" from a radio announcer who compared him to the other jazz royalty of the time, Earl Hines and Duke Ellington. Basie took his orchestra to New York in 1937, and they made the Woodside Hotel in Harlem their base (142nd Street & Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard).

From his playlist:

-- The Kid From Red Bank

-- Jumpin’ at the Woodside

-- April in Paris

thelonious monk.jpg


Thelonious Monk was born in Rocky Mount, N.C., then moved to New York City at the age of 4. He began studying classical piano when he was 11, and by the age of 13, had won the weekly amateur contest at the Apollo Theater so many times that the management banned him from re-entering. In 1941, Monk joined the house band at Minton's Playhouse, where he helped develop the school of jazz known as bebop. Alongside Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, he explored the fast, angular and often improvised styles that would later become synonymous with modern jazz.

From his playlist:

-- ‘Round Midnight

-- Blue Monk

-- Misterioso

charles mingus.jpg

CHARLES MINGUS (1922-1979)

Charles Mingus grew up in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. By the 1940s, he played bass professionally with famous bandleaders Louis Armstrong. In 1951, he settled in New York, where he worked as a sideman, recording and performing with other jazz legends such as Charlie Parker, Bud Powell and Miles Davis. After a few years, he formed an experimental musicians' group called the Jazz Workshop. As a soloist, Mingus was known for his rich and diverse combination of influences, including gospel, New Orleans jazz, Mexican folk music and modern classical.

From his playlist:

-- Goodbye, Pork Pie Hat 

-- Moanin’

-- Ecclusiastics

-- Pithecanthropus Erectus 


LESTER “prez” YOUNG (1909-1959)

Lester Young was a tenor saxophonist and occasional clarinetist who came to fame as a member of Count Basie's orchestra. Born in Mississippi and raised in New Orleans, he left the South at age 18 after refusing to tour in clubs where Jim Crow was in effect. In New York, he became close to Billie Holiday, giving her the name "Lady Day," while she nicknamed him the “Prez.” Known for his creative use of language, Young coined some of the most famous jazz jargon -- including "bread" and “cool.” He played with a relaxed, cool tone and used sophisticated harmonies, using what one critic called "a free-floating style." Young was the first musician from the Harlem 1958 photo to pass away, after which several fellow musicians wrote tribute songs, including Charles Mingus' "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" and Wayne Shorter's "Lester Left Town."

From his playlist:

-- Lester Leaps In

-- Fine & Mellow (with Billie Holiday)

-- Lester Left Town (by Wayne Shorter of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers)

art blakey.jpg

art blakey (1919-1990)

Art Blakey, also called Abdullah Ibn Buhaina (or "Bu"), was a drummer and bandleader often called the “father of hard bop,” an offshoot of bebop. With a style that featured thunderous press rolls and cross beats, his drum solos often began as quiet tremblings and grew into frenzied explosions. Born in Pittsburgh, Pa., Blakey taught himself to play piano (and later drums), then played in jazz clubs in the evenings while working in the steel mills by day. Starting in his twenties, he began to play with other noted performers including Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughn. In 1948, he visited Africa, learned polyrhythmic drumming and was introduced to Islam. In 1954, he founded the Jazz Messengers, a band that over the next 35 years featured an unending supply of talented sidemen, many of whom went on to become band leaders in their own right. Some have counted more than 200 Jazz Messengers alumni, including Benny Golson, Terence Blanchard and Wynton Marsalis.

From his playlist:

-- Moanin’

-- Bu’s Delight

-- Yama


COLEMAN “Hawk” or “BEAN” HAWKINS (1904-1969)

Coleman Randolph Hawkins, nicknamed "Hawk" and sometimes "Bean," was one of the first jazz artists to become known for playing saxophone. Historically, the trumpet, trombone, clarinet, bass and piano were much more prominent in jazz, with tenor saxes usually played only in short bursts on the beat. However, Hawkins had a keen ear for new styles and changed this, covering both traditional jazz standards and departing into what one critic called "the early tremors of bebop." Born in Missouri and schooled in Kansas, Hawkins settled in New York City in the early 1920s in the days of the Harlem Renaissance, where he played with Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds and in Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra with Louis Armstrong. For much of the 1930s, he toured in Europe, and in the early 1940s became a leader on some of the earliest known bebop sessions. 

From his playlist:

-- Body & Soul

-- Bouncing With Bean

-- Juicy Fruit


horace silver (1928-2014)

Horace Silver was a jazz pianist who helped pioneer the hard bop style in the 1950s. Celebrated for his clever compositions and his infectious, bluesy playing, Silver grew up in Connecticut to a mother who enrolled him in classical music lessons and a father who taught him the folk music of his native Cape Verde. He got his first big break when Stan Getz heard him play in a club, then invited him on tour. In 1953, Silver and drummer Art Blakey formed the Jazz Messengers, with an aggressive style that helped define hard bop and whose lineup of trumpet, tenor saxophone, piano, bass and drums became the standard hard-bop instrumentation. In his later years, Silver developed a strong interest in spiritualism and formed his own record label, "Silveto." 

From his playlist:

-- Doodlin’

-- Opus De Funk

-- There’s Much To Be Done


mary lou williams (1910-1981)

Mary Lou Williams, born Mary Elfrieda Scruggs, was a groundbreaking jazz pianist. The second of 11 children, she was born in Atlanta, grew up in  Pittsburgh, and taught herself to play piano at age 3. By age 12, she had played publicly with the likes of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong, and become known as "The Little Piano Girl." Over the course of her career, she arranged for Ellington and Armstrong, as well as Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey, and recorded more than 100 records in 78s, 45s and LPs. Throughout the decades, she became known for her ability to absorb and reflect a diversity of influences, resulting in works such as "Zodiac Suite" in the 1940s, "Mary Lou's Mass" in the 1960s, and "The History of Jazz" in the 1970s. In her later years, she taught at Duke University, where she maintained that jazz could not be boxed in as one musical style, saying: “It’s all spiritual music and healing to the soul.”

From her playlist:

-- Trumpet No End (Blue Skies)

-- In The Land Of Ooh-Blah-Dee

-- Mary Lou’s Mass

Jimmy Rushing, left, with Duke Ellington at right.

Jimmy Rushing, left, with Duke Ellington at right.

JIMMY RUSHING (1901-1972)

Jimmy Rushing was a blues shouter, balladeer and pianist from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who was also known as "Mr. Five by Five" ("he's five feet tall and he's five feet wide"). Born into a musical family, Rushing attended college at Wilberforce University, an accomplishment that was unusual among jazz performers at the time. He first sang in front of an audience at age 23, when he was playing piano at a club and the featured singer invited him to do a vocal. "I got out there and broke it up," Rushing recalled. "I was a singer from then on.” With a powerful voice that could range from baritone to tenor, Rushing could project his sound so that it soared over the horn and reed sections in a big-band setting. He is best known as the featured vocalist of Count Basie's Orchestra from 1935 to 1948.

From his playlist:

-- Mr. Five by Five

-- Going To Chicago

-- Boogie Woogie

sahib shihab 2.jpg

sahib shihab (1925-1989)

One of the first jazz musicians to convert to Islam, Sahib Shihab was born in Nashville, Tenn., as Edmund Gregory. Known for his work on both the alto and baritone sax, Shihab was one of the earliest boppers to use the flute. He studied at the Boston Conservatory, then fell in with the early bop movement after his religious conversion, recording several now-famous sides with Thelonious Monk and Art Blakey in the 1940s. Following some empty patches where he had to work odd jobs, Shihab played with Dizzy Gillespie, then toured Europe with Quincy Jones' big band, in the 1950s. Becoming disillusioned with racial politics in United States, he ultimately settled in Scandinavia, where he married a Danish woman and raised a family.

From his playlist:

-- Red Cross

-- Sentiments

-- Om Mani Padme Hum

Marian McPartland, left, with Mary Lou Williams and Thelonious Monk, during the “Harlem 1958” photo shoot.

Marian McPartland, left, with Mary Lou Williams and Thelonious Monk, during the “Harlem 1958” photo shoot.


Marian McPartland (née Turner) was an English-American jazz pianist, composer and writer. Born just outside of London, she demonstrated perfect pitch early, but since her mother would not let her take piano lessons until her teenage years, she was never a strong reader of notated music and would always prefer to learn through listening. In 1944, during World War II, she enrolled in the United Service Organizations (USO), where she met American trumpeter Jimmy McPartland. They married in 1945, then returned to the United States after the war, first to Jimmy's hometown of Chicago and then to Manhattan. First playing with her husband, and then other groups, over the next 50 years Marian would play with greats ranging from Billie Holliday to Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins to Dave Brubeck. In 1964, she launched a weekly radio program on WBAI-FM that featured recordings and interviews with guests. From 1978 to 2011, she was the host of "Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz" on National Public Radio. Her encyclopedic knowledge of jazz standards and experiences improvising with so many performers led to a musical style that was described as "flexible and complex, and almost impossible to pigeonhole." In 2010, she was named a member of the Order of the British Empire.

From her playlist:

-- For Dizzy

-- Manhattan

-- Bossa Nova + Soul (Full Album)


ROY ELDRIDGE (1911-1989)

David Roy Eldridge, nicknamed "Little Jazz" for his short stature and hot music style, was a trumpet player that some call the historical bridge between Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie. Born in Pittsburgh, he picked up both the piano and trumpet early, then left home at age 16 to join a traveling show after being expelled from ninth grade. Moving to New York City in 1930, he played in various Harlem bands before leaving for Chicago, where he formed an octet with his older brother, saxophonist Joe Eldridge. In 1941, after receiving offers from white musicians, Eldridge joined Gene Krupa's Orchestra and then later played with Artie Shaw, becoming one of the first black musicians to become a permanent member of a white big band. As the featured soloist in Shaw and Krupa's bands, Eldridge walked a fine line between being famous on stage, but then facing the legacy of Jim Crow after his shows: Krupa, on at least one occasion, spent several hours in jail and paid fines for starting a fistfight with a restaurant manager who refused to let Eldridge eat with other band members. Eldridge's rhythmic power to swing a band was a dynamic trademark of the jazz of the time, and in the 1940s he competed in several "trumpet battles" with Gillespie at Minton's Playhouse. Remembered by his peers for being competitive and scrappy, Eldridge fully admitted to his competitive spirit, saying "I was just trying to outplay anybody, and to outplay them my way."

From his playlist:

-- Sunday (minute 8:30)

-- Let Me Off Uptown

-- Pretty Eyed Baby

-- Trumpet Battle


GIGI GRYCE (1925-1983)

Gigi Gryce, later Basheer Qusim, was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, composer and educator. Born in Pensacola, Fla., Gryce grew up in a family that placed a strong emphasis on manners, discipline and church music. For most of his childhood, he studied on a clarinet that he and his brother borrowed and shared, but by high school his mother had saved enough to buy him his own instrument and he studied with music teachers via the Federal Music Project. Drafted into the Navy in 1944, he played in the military band and picked up the sound of bebop while on tour. Supported financially by the G.I. Bill, he later studied at the Boston Conservatory, exploring the jazz scenes of Boston and Hartford before moving to New York City, where he met and played with musicians including Art Farmer, Quincy Jones and Lionel Hampton. Always described as having strict morals, he converted to Islam in the 1950s. A vehement advocate of composers' and musicians' rights, he started his own publishing company, Melotone Music. In the 1960s, he left the professional jazz scene and reinvented himself as a public school music teacher: After his death, the school where he taught in Morrisania was renamed P.S. 53 Basheer Qusim/G.G. Gryce School. 

From his playlist:

-- Nica’s Tempo

-- Minority

-- Social Call


chubby jackson (1918-2003)

Greig Stewart "Chubby" Jackson was a double-bassist and band leader known as much for his onstage exuberance as his musical chops. Born in New York City to parents who'd worked in vaudeville, Jackson was a ball of fire onstage -- grinning broadly, rarely standing still and shouting encouragement to his fellow musicians. He earned his nickname from his size (and it stuck, even after he lost 100 pounds in 1946). First coming to prominence in the 1940s with Woody Herman's Herd, one of the most popular big bands of the swing era and one of the first to incorporate modern jazz ideas into a big-band format, Jackson later started his several of his own groups. He also had a successful career in television, hosting a local children's show called "Chubby Jackson's Little Rascals,"  in which he led a big band, played a bass painted with a smiling face, told jokes and introduced "Little Rascals" shorts. In the 1960s and 70s, he occasionally worked with his son, a prominent jazz drummer, and toured with an all-star band led by Lionel Hampton. 

From his playlist:

-- Northwest Passage

-- Lemon Drop

-- Bass Face



Dickie (sometimes “Dicky”) Wells was a trombone player who was born in Centerville, Tennessee, and the brother of Henry Wells, also a trombonist. Known for his distinctive vibrato and imaginative use of moans, wheezes and exclamations, Wells moved to New York City in 1926, and in the 1930s and 1940s was a regular in the band of Count Basie, as well as with groups including Fletcher Henderson, Jimmy Rushing and Ray Charles. In the 1950s and 1960s, he played frequently in Europe. In the 1970s, one of his regular haunts was the West End Cafe on Broadway at 116th Street, where he played with The Countsmen, a group of former Basie musicians. One of his trademarks was the “pepper pot” mute that he made himself for his trombone. Wells was the subject of the book “The Night People” in 1991. Note: This Dickie Wells is not to be confused with the Dickie Wells who had a club on 135th Street and is credited with the dish of chicken & waffles!

From his playlist:

-- Trombone Four In Hand (Full Album)

-- Hello, Smack!

-- Dicky Wells Blues

art farmer.jpg


Arthur Stewart "Art" Farmer was a second-generation bebop musician who first played trumpet and later flugelhorn, and even later, the "flumpet" -- a hybrid instrument that combined projection and warmth, and was made just for him. He was born in Iowa one hour ahead of his twin brother, Addison, who would later become a prominent musician on bass. After their parents divorced and his steelworker father died in a work accident, the brothers' mother and grandparents moved the family to Phoenix, where Farmer joined a dance band that played big-band hits. When they were 16, the brothers moved to Los Angeles, at a time when great musicians were coming out of the city's integrated high schools, and they began to pick up gigs. Farmer moved to New York City in the early 1950s to play with Gigi Gryce and Horace Silver; by the end of the 1950s, he and saxophonist Benny Golson formed the Jazztet, a sextet with a deep repertory of harmonically sophisticated, tightly arranged music that defined the state of the art for mainstream jazz.

From his playlist:

-- Farmer’s Market

-- Mox Nix

-- Soulsides



Trumpet player and showman Henry James “Red” Allen was born in New Orleans, the son of bandleader Henry Allen. As a teenager, played in his father's band. In 1926, Allen left New Orleans to play with the Southern Syncopators on a riverboat that ran the Mississippi River between St. Louis and Cincinnati. After being offered a recording contract, he moved to New York City, where over the years, he played with Fletcher Henderson, Coleman Hawkins, Billie Holliday, Benny Goodman, Luis Russell and Louis Armstrong, among others. Starting in 1954, he led the house band at the Metropole Cafe, a jazz club at 48th Street & Seventh Avenue that was noted in the bebop era as being a venue for traditional jazz musicians. In 1958, Allen recorded on an album called “The Weary Blues” that featured poet Langston Hughes. In June 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Red Allen as among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal Music Group fire.

From his playlist:

-- St. James Infirmary

-- Harlem Madness

-- Wild Man Blues


tyree glenn (1912-1974)

Tyree Glenn played the unusual combo of trombone and vibraphone. Born in Texas, Glenn started out working in territory bands, then moved to Washington, D.C., area. Valued for his skills on both instruments, he was known for being a "wah-wah" trombonist and later played in the bands of Cab Calloway (1939-1946), Duke Ellington (1947-1951) and Louis Armstrong (1965-1968). During his time with Ellington, he was heavily featured on the "Liberian Suite," a piece commissioned for the 100th anniversary of Liberia. He was the father of R&B/soul musician Tyree Glenn, Jr.

From his playlist:

-- Sultry Serenade

-- How Could You Do A Thing Like That To Me?

-- Liberian Suite