In my mind, jazz conjures an image of smoky bars laced with silken signing and golden trumpets. Now museum visitors can venture back into the jazz world of the 1950s and ’60s with this week’s opening of The Jazz Loft Project at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.
The exhibition centers around Life Magazine photographer W. Eugene Smith’s loft, found in the heart of New York City’s wholesale flower district. Frequented by musicians like Bill Evans and Theolinus Monk, the loft was fully saturated with the sweet low tunes of jazz.
The Jazz Loft Project is a multimedia exhibition that features Smith’s vintage prints, audio of late night jam sessions and 16-mm film footage of the loft. With tape reels of more than 300 musicians and oral history interviews, this show promises to provide true insight into the late night jazz scene.
The exhibition was developed by the Center for Documentary Studies here at Duke University and will open at the Nasher Museum in February 2011. How will I prep for this true jazz session? You can find me swaying to live jazz at the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture for the next few weeks!
IMAGE: W. Eugene Smith’s photograph of Bob Brookmeyer, Lee Konitz, Bill Crow, Jim Hall, Jimmy Raney.