Zoot Suit: Sims, Eugene Smith, and the Jazz Loft Project

The New York Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center currently has a great exhibit for fans of midcentury style.

Entitled “The Jazz Loft Project,” it’s based on the work of photographer W. Eugene Smith, who spent years chronicling the goings on in a loft in Manhattan’s wholesale flower district, where jazz musicians would come for all-night jam sessions.

Smith took some 40,000 photos from 1957-1965, plus 4,000 hours of audio tape of the sessions and life in the building.

Visiting musicians included Zoot Sims (shown here with natural shoulder and collar roll, and below in a shot by Smith from the exhibit), Bill Evans, Charles Mingus and Thelonious Monk.

In addition to the musicians, the exhibit features great atmospheric shots of New York in the ’50s and ’60s as seen from Smith’s window on Sixth Avenue and 29th Street, plus audio and video samples.

The exhibit runs through May 22, then moves to Chicago, Duke University, San Diego and Arizona through 2012. Organizers are currently looking for venues in Europe and Asia (contact them if you can help find a venue). — CC

1 Comment on "Zoot Suit: Sims, Eugene Smith, and the Jazz Loft Project"

  1. If you can’t get to the exhibit, there has been a corresponding book published. Its fantastic and an essential read for any fan of jazz from that era.

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