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  • Harlem '58 tours the music of a host of iconic New York City jazz artists as depicted in Art Kane's infamous image - delving into their intricate personalities and the exciting world of jazz in 1950s New York City.

    Performed by 18 piece big band Strictly Smokin' Big Band and Alice Grace.

  • There is a narative throught the show which tells their stories and makes connections from one musicain to the next.

  • Through the stories of these noted musicians, Harlem 58' explores not only jazz history, but race and gender equality in their musical era.

  • Our show’s projected backdrops are carefully curated and have proven extremely popular with audiences; increasing engagement and elevating the performance beyond a ‘gig’.

  • The Spring 2023 leg of our Harlem '58 tour sold to over 95% across venues in the North, most of which were in new areas for the show and band.

  • Recent sold-out venues include Sage Gateshead, Durham Gala Theatre, Alnwick Playhouse, Queen's Hall Hexham, Gosforth Civic Theatre and numerous others.

  • Album available to support tour.

  • Usually touring single night engagements. Longer runs available.

  • Sutiable for all ages.

  • Guarantee/ split.  Deals negotiable.

  • Numerous dates throughout the year available.


“What many would claim to be the UKs number one big band”, Strictly Smokin’ is a full 18-piece big band including vocalist, Alice Grace.


Celebrating their 20th year performing in 2022 and hailed as “one of the UK's most effortlessly fluent big bands”, the group draws its members from the most talented jazz musicians in the North of England, and travel the country performing in theatres, jazz clubs and festivals.


“…one of the UK’s most effortlessly fluent big bands” – Jazz Alert

"...innovative musicians at the forefront of the jazz scene." - Sage Gateshead

"Ella & Ellington, Strictly Smokin', full house: it's a common occurrence" - Be Bop Spoken Here


Strictly Smokin' Big Band: Harlem '58


"…one of the UK’s most effortlessly fluent big bands” – Jazz Alert

"...innovative musicians at the forefront of the jazz scene." - Sage Gateshead

A Musical tour through the iconic photograph featuring STRICTLY SMOKIN’ BIG BAND and Alice Grace


10am, August 12th 1958 at 17 East 126th Street in Harlem between Fifth and Madison Avenues – a collection of the most influential jazz musicians of all time gather to be photographed for the front cover of Esquire Magazine by Art Kane.


HARLEM ‘58, tours the music of these iconic names whilst delving into their intricate personalities and the exciting world of jazz in 1950s New York City – all performed by the fabulous 18-piece Strictly Smokin’ Big Band with Alice Grace.


The story begins with Count Basie, an iconic big band leader, who’s musical career began only a few blocks away from the photo location watching master pianist Fats Waller perform at the old Lincon Theatre, NYC.


Each musician links to the next as members of Strictly Smokin’ tell their stories, drawing tales from the exciting world of the New York jazz scene and bring their relationships to life through liver performances: Mary Lou Williams, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Hank Jones, Gene Krupa, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Horace Silver and many more.


Please note that on occasion substitute musicians and vocalists are used without notice.

The original Harlem 1958, taken by art Kane:


Running Times:

  • Two acts

  • 55 minutes each

  • 30 minute interval

  • Total running time inc. interval: 2h 20m


  • 2 hour minimum get in

  • 1 hour sound check

  • 1 hour get out 

  • 11 chairs without arms

  • WiFi at the venue is reuired for the performance

  • Use of house piano is prefered

  • Projection essential

    • Back (preferable) or front projection.

    • Click for projection information

  • In-house sound preferable, can supply if required.

  • Lighting

    • Simple

    • Mid-wash across whole performance space, with blackout.

Prefered timings for 7.30pm* curtain up:

  • 1500: MD arrives to set chairs and stands. Please have decking set.

  • 1700: Rhtyhm section and vocals arrive and set on stage

  • 1715: Rest of band arrive and set on stage

  • 1730: All stage, sound and projection is set

  • 1740: sound check, including monitors

  • 1800: Rehearsal with sound, LX, projection and stage crew

  • 1850: Finish and clear

  • 1900: Doors

  • 1930: Curtain up: Set/Act 1

  • 2025: Interval

  • 2055: Set/ Act 2

  • 2150: Curtain down

  • Get out takes no more than 1 hour.

* plus or minus accordingly for different start times.


  • Strictly Smokin’s musical director can deliver pre or post show workshops exploring the music of the show for school /college or community groups. This can be tailored to ability and experience, and can also utilise our musicians.

  • We can offer listening lists with suggestions of suitable albums for pupils/students that explore the music of 1950s and 60s New York jazz.

  • The Team can offer pre/post-show Q&As to explore aspects of the show.




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Strictly Smokin' Big Band: Harlem '58 | Live 18-piece big band

Tickets available now at


Are you ready for an unforgettable journey into the world of jazz in 1950s New York City?


Join us for a special production of Harlem '58, where you'll experience the music of a host of legendary New York City jazz artists as depicted in Art Kane's iconic image featuring the full Strictly Smokin’ Big Band and Alice Grace.