In 1957, Eugene Smith moved into a dilapidated, five-story loft building at 821 Sixth Avenue in New York City. The building was a late-night haunt of musicians, including some of the biggest names in jazz-Charles Mingus, Zoot Sims, Bill Evans, and Thelonious Monk. From 1957 to 1965, Smith exposed 1,447 rolls of film at the loft, the largest body of work in his career. Smith also wired the building like a surreptitious recording studio and made 1,740 reels of stereo and mono audiotapes.
The Jazz Loft Project, organized by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University in cooperation with the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona and the W. Eugene Smith estate, is devoted to preserving and cataloging Smith's tapes, researching the photographs, and obtaining oral history interviews with all surviving loft participants through radio shows, events, performances and exhibitions.ShareThis