W. Eugene Smith at the New York public Library Lincoln Center

The Jazz Loft Project at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center through May 22, 2010.

Photographs by W. Euegene Smith

In the early 50's Smith moved into a loft building on sixth Avenue, which had already become a hangout for artists, writers and especially jazz musicians, who rehearsed and jammed there. Among the visitors to the loft: Thelonious Monk, Zoot Sims, Bill Evans, Steve Swallow, Robert Frank, Salvador Dali, Norman Mailer and Diane Arbus and more. he shot over 40,000 frames on 35mm and recorded thousands of hours of music and sounds between 1957 and 1965.

This book is a stunning mix of New York history, jazz and photography. Check it out, there will be more than 200 images, several hours of audio, and 16mm film footage of Smith working in the loft. It's well worth a glimpse into history.

excerpt from the book:

January 29, 1960

W. Eugene Smith sits at the fourth-floor window of his dilapidated loft at 821 Sixth Avenue, New York City, near the corner of Twenty-eighth Street, the heart of Manhattan’s wholesale flower district. He peers out at the street below, several cameras at hand loaded with different lenses and film speeds. His window faces east from the west side of Sixth Avenue. The dawn light begins to rise behind the Empire State Building and other Midtown skyscrapers looming over the modest neighborhood. Three musicians stand together on the sidewalk below talking and laughing. One holds an upright bass in its case, another has a saxophone case slung over his shoulder, and the other is smoking a cigarette. It is six o’clock in the morning; the temperature is a moderate thirty degrees. The musicians are going home after a night-long jam session. Smith snaps a few pictures.

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