"jam session"

Published December 7, 1941


jam Session from HARLEM as seen by hirschfeld, 1941



Most of these sessions evaporated into the thin early morning Harlem air, but this one resonates beyond that back room, throughout eternity. The great master of line is off on his own solo, capturing the vibe, the soul of these jazz musicians.

Al was a wonderful drummer in those days. These gents may be having a hard time keeping up with his Timpani with Pen and Brush. Al is sitting in, jamming, and not sitting back either.

That was part of Hirschfeld’s gift. He didn’t lean back, he leaned in. He didn’t record, he soared. In 1956 he drew me dancing (in rather a scanty costume) as an African King in Show Boat. My body glided across the page of The New York Times as it never did on stage. He knew my body language better than my understudy. Better perhaps than I ever did myself.

-Geoffrey Holder

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