“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!