Jean Bach, who told the story behind a celebrated photograph of jazz luminaries in the award-winning 1994 documentary "A Great Day in Harlem," died Monday in New York City at age 94.
The hourlong film chronicles an extraordinary moment in jazz history when 57 celebrated artists -- including Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Gene Krupa, Bud Freeman, Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Charlie Mingus and Sonny Rollins -- gathered on the steps of a Harlem brownstone in 1958 for an Esquire magazine photo spread.
Bach, a longtime radio producer, incorporated interviews with a dozen surviving members of the historic portrait with archival footage provided by one of the musicians, bassist Milt Hinton. The documentary earned an Oscar nomination and won the top prize at the Chicago International Film Festival in 1994.
A devotee since she discovered the music as a teenager in the late 1930s, she was revered in jazz circles.
"Jean was a jazz queen who always supported the music," said saxophonist Jimmy Heath, the brother of bassist Percy Heath. "When I performed and I did not see her in the audience, I was disappointed. I will miss this jazz angel."
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