The Jazz Loft Radio Series
By WNYC Studios
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In 1957, W. Eugene Smith packed up a truck with all his work and belongings to a rundown loft building in Manhattan’s Flower District. For over a decade, he recorded -- in thousands of still photographs and endless hours of tape-recorded sound -- the daily life of the place. The Jazz Loft Series uses the audiotapes recorded by Smith (he wired the whole, 5-story building from the ground floor up) to explore the music, conversations, stories, dramas and characters. The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith, a documentary film produced by WNYC Studios in association with Lumiere Productions, is now available as a full-length feature film on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and more. Smith had left a stellar career as LIFE Magazine photo essayist. His new project became this loft -- not fixing it up, but rather capturing it in all its musical, eccentric and beat-up detail. The Jazz Loft Radio Series uses the audiotapes recorded by Smith (he wired the whole, 5-story building from the ground floor up) to explore the music, conversations, stories, dramas and characters that emerge from this 4,000-hour archive of material. The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith, a documentary film produced by WNYC Studios in association with Lumiere Productions, is now available as a full-length feature film and is available on iTunes, Amazone, Google Play and more.
||CleanSpecial Episode: Jazz Loft Jam Sessions||In this episode, thanks to W. Eugene Smith's tape recorders, we get to experience something audiences rarely hear - the unrehearsed, imperfect, open-ended, overlong, rough-around-the-edges music that jazz players made when they got together to jam at 8||3/6/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 1: Introduction||Few people in history had as much access to the greatest jazz musicians of our time as W. Eugene Smith. The famous LIFE magazine photographer moved in 1957 to a rundown, bohemian loft on 6th avenue, in the heart of Manhattan’s Flower District. Durin||10/29/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 2: Enter W. Eugene Smith||Before photographer W. Eugene Smith lived in a rundown loft in the thick of New York’s jazz scene, he lived in another world. A native Kansan who earned a scholarship to Notre Dame, Smith was a staff photographer for LIFE magazine -- considered pho||10/28/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 3: The Tapes||W. Eugene Smith recorded more than 4,000 hours in his Manhattan loft. Some 139 different personalities—musicians, writers and artists—make appearances. The conversations are one thing, but the impromptu jam sessions, involving remarkable musical c||10/27/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 4: Hall Overton||By day, Hall Overton was an instructor of classical music at Juilliard. By night, he was living, teaching, and playing jazz piano at the Jazz Loft. In this episode, some of the musicians who knew him best share their memories of the brilliant, self-eff||10/26/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 5: Before the Loft||Like many of New York City's most influential artists, a lot of the prominent jazz musicians of the 1950s came from someplace else. After World War II, returning soldiers flocked to New York, bouncing from clubs to studios to lofts in search of a pla||10/25/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 6: Drummer Ron Free||Ron Free, a prodigious drummer from Charleston, South Carolina, was the Jazz Loft’s "house drummer" from 1958 to 1960. Holing up in W. Eugene Smith’s apartment for weeks at a time, he jammed with everyone from Thelonious Monk to Chick Corea. Even||10/24/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 7: Flowers at 6 AM||In the early mornings, as each all-night jam session at the loft came to a close, musicians stumbled out into the fragrant air of the surrounding flower shops. For W. Eugene Smith, the Flower District was more than a neighborhood -- it was an obsession||10/23/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 8: Monk at Town Hall||In early 1959, a genuine stir was created in the loft -- even among the more seasoned jazz players -- when Thelonious Monk turned up to arrange his music and rehearse with the help of drummer Hall Overton. Monk and Overton had a rare chemistry, and the||10/22/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 9: More Tapes||The commercial jazz world relied on by-the-hour club dates and recording sessions, but the after-hours loft scene gave musicians the luxury of forgetting time, as they played through long, uninterrupted, all-night jam sessions. In this episode, hear im||10/21/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 10: Times Change||It was hard not to notice that by the early 60s, things had changed dramatically for the Jazz Loft set. Folk and rock music had gained in popularity. Life in New York was becoming more expensive. The late-night jam sessions slowed down, and Smith becam||10/20/2015||Free||View in iTunes|