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The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith

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The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith

“A fascinating documentary….genuine exhilaration holds throughout.” (New York Times, NYT Critic’s Pick)

Starting in the 1950s, dozens of jazz musicians jammed night after night in a dilapidated New York loft. Acclaimed photojournalist W. Eugene Smith, who lived next door, recorded and photographed the sessions and conversations, day after day for nearly a decade, creating 4000 hours of audiotape and 40,000 photographs between 1957 and 1965. It’s a remarkable archive that, presented in this impressive film by WNYC producer/host Sara Fishko (who also made a radio documentary on the subject), provides us with an insight into some remarkable jazz history. We see Thelonious Monk and Hall Overton preparing for Monk’s acclaimed 1959 big-band concert at Town Hall, drummer Ronnie Free getting hooked on hard drugs, and Zoot Sims jamming through the night. Smith’s demons begin to take hold (he starts to record his own phone calls), and the ’50s give way to the ’60s. Through interviews, vignettes, and powerful melodies from famed musicians, the vibrant culture of New York’s mid-century jazz era comes alive.

RECEPTION Don’t miss the dessert and wine reception upstairs in the Jane Peck Gallery!

Tickets: $20 (members), $25 (nonmembers)


Live Performance by Ben Paterson
Live Performance by Ben Paterson
Wednesday, Jun. 12 2019, 7:15
This event is over. View all of our upcoming events.

Originally from Philadelphia, pianist, vocalist and composer Ben Paterson studied both classical and jazz music before moving to Chicago and absorbing its unique blend of jazz and blues. Now based in New York, Paterson is poised to bring his unique talents and style to a wider audience, performing regularly at top-notch venues around town, and at clubs and festivals around the world. Combining a joyful swing feel with an impeccable touch, he has garnered international acclaim for his superb musicianship and engaging performances: Downbeat calls him “as soulful a pianist/organist as exists anywhere.” Whether playing lush ballads on the piano, hard-driving blues-tinged jazz on the Hammond B3, or singing classic tunes by the likes of Ray Charles and Nat King Cole, this young artist combines effortless technique with soulful honesty.

This film is part of the Jazz Sessions: Beyond the Notes series.

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