Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Jazz Loft Project

One of my biggest hopes is that someone someday invents a time machine so that I can go back to see first hand what New York City was like in the years, decades, centuries before I was born. High on my list of temporal destinations would be the 1950s, a time when New York City was a living dream, when Frank Sinatra was literally singing its praises, when its government was corrupt, its apartments were cheap, its nightclubs were swinging, its public schools amazing, when this town was the center of the world at a time America was taking its place as the great world superpower after World War II. Basically, when New York was at its most New Yorkish -- before the dark days of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

In this mix of 1950s New York City was the Jazz Loft. This was literally a loft, an apartment located on West 28th street in the Flower District, where jazz greats and wannabes came and jammed into the wee hours of the night. A man named W. Eugene Smith took a vast number of photographs and made numerous recordings of the jam sessions, enshrining the incredible music and personalities of this particular time and place.

WNYC and NPR got access to this amazing archive and have turned it into a radio series called The Jazz Loft Project. Broadcasting the original recordings and interviewing many of the participants, this series is a wonderfully nostalgic look at a slice of New York Americana, and of time that was both great and not so great but something that we are all the richer for remembering.

1 comment:

  1. The are ten audio episodes narrated by Sara Fisko of WNYC at


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