One August day in 1958, young photographer Art Kane invited all the jazz musicians then working the night clubs in New York City to meet on 124th Street for a group photo to grace the cover of `Esquire' magazine. Some 50 different musicians showed up for the photo, and this film by Jean Bach is the story of that occasion.
The problem Kane had was getting so many jazz musicians to show up at 11 O'clock in the morning, as jazz musicians work all night and often do not get to bed until sunrise. One jazz musician remarked at his astonishment on discovering that there were "two ten O'clocks in the day".
But with a handful of exceptions, show up they did. The film contains short face-to-camera interviews by many of the surviving musicians in the photo, who included Dizzie Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Marian McPartland, Count Basie, Sonny Rollins (an excellent & deeply thoughtful contribution), Gerry Mulligan, Charles Mingus, Maxine Sullivan, Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins. They talk about the occasion, about jazz, life in general and each other.
This is a 2-DVD set. DVD-1 is Bach's original and highly entertaining film; DVD-2 contains 3 hours of bonus material, a meticulously assembled montage of quotes about each musician participant which you can access via clicking on each musician's name. You have to work through each one individually, as there's no `play all' option.
Kane's original photo contained a front-row of street kids sitting on the sidewalk with the musicians. Many of these (obviously in their mature years) have been tracked down and interviewed for the film too.
It's not really a `music DVD' as such, but overall it's a great piece of history.