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A Great Day in Harlem/Tree CountyBistro

I saw this film years ago when in initially was released and found it a very well done documentary.  It takes something somewhat iconic, like this photograph. Essentially in 1958 a young photographer had put out the word he wanted to take a "Class Photograph" Of the Jazz Musicians in town for an upcoming edition of Esquire Magazine on the Golden Age of Jazz.         

It was hot, it was scheduled at 10a.m. (A time most jazz musicians were not up) and a train wreck was feared.  57 Musicians showed up and an iconic image was born.    Only three of these folks are still with us so it's significance has even grown because of that.         

4:30 MOVIE

Meet us in the lobby about 5 minutes ahead of time or look for the group inside the theater or meet us afterward not too far from where tickets are purchased.

6:00 EATS

After the movie we'll go over to the Tree Country Bistro, just short drive over to Coventry Village, for  dinner and some conversation. It's on 1803 Coventry


A Great Day in Harlem zooms in and out of this astonishing photograph, interweaving archival performance footage, remarkable never-before-seen home-movie footage of the photograph being taken, and rare interviews with jazz masters present that day such as Sonny Rollins, Horace Silver, Art Farmer, Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey. Other interviewees include the photographer, Art Kane, who had never before taken a picture as a professional but who would quickly rise to the top of the field, and the Esquire graphics editor, Robert Benton, who speaks of what he learned that day that he would later use as a three-time Academy Award winning filmmaker. Finally, we hear the stories of some of the neighborhood kids who snuck into the frame to be photographed alongside their musical heroes.

Through this photograph, viewers will come to know some of the century's most influential musicians. We meet such luminaries as Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Charles Mingus, Marian McPartland, Gerry Mulligan, Mary Lou Williams, Maxine Sullivan, and Thelonious Monk. The result is a richly textured recreation of the event and the presentation of a cross-section of people and musical styles that comprised the evolution of jazz in the 20th century - and beyond.

As important, A Great Day in Harlem captures the spirit of an era when New York City was the center of the jazz world, when music history was constantly being made, and when creativity was fostered by an intense and nurturing community of musicians and fans.

It was indeed a great day when musicians met and joked with friends, family, and community residents - in one instance even blowing a few jazz riffs - on a side street in Harlem in 1958. Like the photograph it documents, A Great Day in Harlem is a vivid portrait of a unique community.


I Liked it and it was nominated for the 1995 Academy Award for Best Documentary.  Rotten Tomatoes gives it an 89.


The $5.00 yearly administrative fee (or $1.50 per event) goes toward charges incurred for using the MeetUp website. You can access PayPal (see link in left hand column) or pay your fee to the Organizer at the event.

CEDAR LEE 2163 Lee Road. Cleveland Heights

Parking: Paid Parking is now 24 X 7, so bring quarters. Credit cards work in the garage. The back half of the parking lot is only 25 cents for 60 minutes.  A free parking lot is on Edgewood road, one block west of Lee road at Cedar.

CAPITOL THEATER 1390 W. 65th St. Cleveland (216) 651-7295. http://www.clevelandc...

Parking: A free parking lot is next to the theater.

CINEMATHEQUE, Cleveland Institute of Art, 11141 East Blvd.

Parking: They have a free parking lot.

CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART Films , 11150 East Blvd. http://www.clevelanda...

Parking: They have an attendant parking garage. There is also street parking.

CLEVELAND FILM SOCIETY. Hosts the Cleveland International Film Festival at Tower City. http://www.clevelandf...

Parking at Tower City: Free validated parking with movie.

If this is your first movie with the group, there is no fee to attend.

This group has been successful partly because members have a genuine interest in meeting fellow independent movie goers. We don't always know where to look for you, especially first timers.  Consider printing out the pictures of the attendees to help you find them easier.

We have multiple meeting places:

Entrance door to the movie in the theater hallway 5-10 minutes before the movie starts

By the entrance door or ticket office after the movie

Reserved table at the restaurant under the name "Movie Group"

We don't always sit together in the movie theater but if you see a bunch of people talking about good movies they have seen, it is probably us. Please join in. We are always happy to get new people involved.

In the world of Independent films, it is recommended that you check back a few days before the event to make sure the movie, restaurant, location or time has not changed.

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