Description from GoodReads:
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.
Quick thoughts on the book:
Recently, I was chatting with a friend about picture books. One of the things we were talking about is how some books might need to be taught. JAZZ DAY: THE MAKING OF A FAMOUS PHOTOGRAPH maybe one of those books that are beautiful but may not find its way into the hands of children without the support of an adult.
Orgill brings to life the history behind Art Kane's 1958 jazz photo through a series of poems.
Vallejo's paintings are gorgeous and capture the mood and setting of the day and the energy of the day.
Along with the poems, Orgill includes an introduction, an author's note, short biographies of various jazz musicians, source material and bibliography. I can see using this book as part of a poetry unit but also to share with students a piece of history including the music of the musicians featured in the photograph. When students are exposed to poetry and music, there is a level of learning that goes beyond the simple academics of history and poetry. Jazz Day is definitely one of those books that with a little support can emotionally connect with students.
Look for a copy of Jazz Day at your local indie bookstore or community library.
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