After spending 4 years obsessively photographing the city of Pittsburgh, W. Eugene Smith moved into a rundown, five-story loft building at 821 Sixth Avenue in New York City’s wholesale flower district. Frustrated with his Pittsburgh work, Smith turned his attention to the vibrant jazz culture present in and around his New York loft. From 1957 to 1965, Smith exposed 1,447 rolls of film at the loft, making roughly 40,000 pictures, and photographing some of the biggest names in jazz, such as Charles Mingus, Zoot Sims, Bill Evans, and Thelonious Monk. Smith also recorded 4,000 hours of audio.
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.
Photographs and Tapes of W. Eugene Smith from 821 Sixth Avenue, 1957-1965, a book containing 288 pages, published by Alfred A. Knopf, is available at http://www.jazzloftproject.org/?s=book.