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[ARSCLIST] Jazz Loft to see the light of day...
...from a WNYC (NY Public Radio) e-mail today:
We all know the extraordinary work of Sara Fishko - from The Fishko Files
to her hour-long specials to her music hosting. Now add The Jazz Loft.
Celebrated photographer Eugene Smith lived and worked in a loft in the
Flower District (6th Avenue and the 20s) in the late 50s. While the
photographs Smith made during that period are well known it was not until
well after his death that Sam Stephenson, a writer and Smith specialist
based at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, discovered
that Smith had wired the loft with microphones and tape recorders. The
result was 4000 hours of open reel recordings...uncatalogued but featuring
the musicians, artists, and thinkers who spent time and worked in the loft.
Among those working in the Loft were Thelonious Monk, Zoot Sims, Bill
Evans, Teddy Charles, Phil Woods and a hundred others at least. The tapes
include primary source recordings of Thelonious Monk working out the
arrangements for the famous Town Hall Concert in 1959 -- a huge
historical/musical discovery. Smith also recorded everyday life in the
loft: traffic outside, cats meowing, long, searching conversations among
it's inhabitants, encounters with local cops. The quality of the material
is remarkably good. The Jazz Loft archive is still being digitized at Duke
University in North Carolina. This archive makes possible an
unprecedented, candid acquaintance with a particular kind of urban life in
It comes as no surprise to any of us that when Sam Stephenson thought about
who would make radio and other media out of this, he contacted Sara
Fishko. And that is how the Jazz Loft became a WNYC project.
WNYC is joining CDS and other cultural institutions in making a major
project out of this discovery, which is of interest to general audiences
and jazz scholars alike. Sam Stephenson is writing the Jazz Loft book, to
be published by Knopf in late'09 or early 10; 175 Eugene Smith photos from
inside and outside the Loft go on exhibition at the Lincoln Center Library
for the Performing Arts in Feb. of '10; and the Jazz Loft Radio Series --
10 segments and 2 or 3 stand-alone programs -- start airing during that
period to coincide with the other elements of the project. The series will
be the first hearing of any amount of this tape by the general public and
will focus on some of the remarkable revelations of the archive, much of
which has remained unopened since Smith stopped taping in the mid-1960's.
Sara has the cooperation of CDS; many of the stellar jazz players who
jammed at the Loft and who are still with us with memories in tact; as well
as some of America's leading jazz scholars and cultural thinkers.
Sara will be juggling the Jazz Loft project with some number of Fishko
Files for the next many months, along with her associate producer Noel
Black. Julie Burstein is working as Sara's Editor; Limor Tomer is working
on the February concerts; and Noreen O'Loughlin and Chris McKenna are
dreaming big digitial dreams for the content.
Jazz Loft is now in production and as its realization gets closer we'll be
playing audio samples and making visual material available for you to
enjoy. We intend for you to meet Sam Stephenson, see Smith's photos, and
hear the story of the tapes in the coming months.