About this item

What happens when you invite as many jazz musicians as you can to pose for a photo in 1950s Harlem? Playful verse and glorious artwork capture an iconic moment for American jazz.When Esquire magazine planned an issue to salute the American jazz scene in 1958, graphic designer Art Kane pitched a crazy idea: how about gathering a group of beloved jazz musicians and photographing them? He didn't own a good camera, didn't know if any musicians would show up, and insisted on setting up the shoot in front of a Harlem brownstone. Could he pull it off? In a captivating collection of poems, Roxane Orgill steps into the frame of Harlem 1958, bringing to life the musicians' mischief and quirks, their memorable style, and the vivacious atmosphere of a Harlem block full of kids on a hot summer's day. Francis Vallejo's vibrant, detailed, and wonderfully expressive paintings do loving justice to the larger-than-life quality of jazz musicians of the era. Includes bios of several of the fifty-seven musicians, an author's note, sources, a bibliography, and a foldout of Art Kane's famous photograph.

About the Author

Roxane Orgill

Ever find yourself doing something you didn't expect?

I was looking at a famous photograph of jazz musicians crowded outside a Harlem brownstone, and I was wondering how to write about it. A poem popped out.

I'm not a poet. I write nonfiction. I used to be a music critic and journalist. I rarely even read poetry. But I like research, so I dug into that August day in 1958 when an amateur photographer tried to corral 57 musicians into a picture. And I kept writing - poems!

See the results in my new book, JAZZ DAY: THE MAKING OF A FAMOUS PHOTOGRAPH, illustrated by Francis Vallejo (Candlewick Press, 2106) . It has earned six * * * * * * starred reviews!

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