Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Trade in your item
Get a $18.41
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

The Jazz Loft Project: Photographs and Tapes of W. Eugene Smith from 821 Sixth Avenue, 1957-1965 Hardcover – November 24, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$93.52 $44.95

Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, December 2009: Like the American Renaissance of Emerson, Hawthorne, Dickinson, Thoreau, and Melville bursting out of the Massachusetts countryside a hundred years before, the legend of the New York jazz scene in the late 1950s and early '60s, when singular geniuses like Monk, Coltrane, Davis, Mingus, and Evans might be gigging on the same night--sometimes on the same stage--only grows with time. Now, in The Jazz Loft Project, we have a rare and remarkable window into that moment. The project is the fruit of two obsessed men, W. Eugene Smith, the brilliant photographer who shot thousands of pictures and recorded thousands of hours of music and talk at his Midtown apartment and studio, which served as an open-door meeting place and jam session site for hundreds of musicians and artists; and Sam Stephenson, the documentarian who has spent even longer archiving and investigating the riches Smith left behind. Among its many wonders, what their book does best is put the creations of those bebop geniuses in context: giving life to the forgotten players who jammed with the future immortals, revealing the casual crosspollination among artists, musicians, and writers (and between blacks and whites), and reminding us of the world outside the loft, with baseball, UFO stories, and civil rights on the radio and the daily commerce of New York's flower district on the street below. --Tom Nissley

Look Inside The Jazz Loft Project

Click on thumbnails for larger images

Thelonious Monk and his Town Hall band in rehearsal, February 1959.
Zoot Sims (ca. 1957-1964).
Loft interior, fifth floor (ca. 1964).


The northeast corner of Sixth Avenue and 28th Street (ca. 1957-1964).
White Rose Bar sign from the 4th floor window of 821 Sixth Avenue (ca. 1957-1964).
W. Eugene Smith at 4th floor window of 821 Sixth Avenue (ca. 1957).

(Photos credit W. Eugene Smith. Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona. © The Heirs of W. Eugene Smith)

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. After having a breakdown in the midst of working on a photo-essay on Pittsburgh in 1957, legendary photographer W. Eugene Smith holed up in a loft in New York's Chelsea, in the Tin Pan Alley area. There, over the next several years, he became deeply embroiled in the New York City jazz scene, opening his home as a practice and performance space for some of the great artists of mid-century jazz, including Thelonious Monk, Zoot Sims and many others. Of course, he took pictures—both of musicians and of a window-size view of mid-century New York—and also wired the place for recording, logging hours and hours of tape, capturing the music and the talk around it. These photos and tapes had been thought lost—the stuff of rumor, buried in Smith's archive—until Stephenson dug them out and culled the best, along with transcriptions of material from the tapes, for this landmark book. Smith's stunning use of contrast makes figures like Monk seem dramatic and completely ordinary at the same time. The photos of the city offer a rare glimpse into a neighborhood being itself when it thought no one was watching. This will be an essential book for jazz fans, photography lovers and those interested in the history of New York. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (November 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307267091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307267092
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 1 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Related Media


Important Information

Ingredients
Example Ingredients

Directions
Example Directions

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ken Mabuchi on November 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are a musician, you will come alive in Sam Stephenson's awesome collection of the happenings in a loft on Sixth Avenue in New York during the late 1950's and 1960's. Every struggling jazz musician with talent was there. Those of lesser talent never came back.
Tiny clips of conversations, recorded on tape bring back recollections of moments passed with enough spirit, to let you join the clan.
The book will serve as a Rosetta Stone, for those who long ago participated in making jazz the American standard in the world and who want to reconnect with friends to make more music, or to sit back and smile in their memory.
8 Comments 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful and truly spiritual book. Like great jazz itself. Life affirming and what all art should be; truly democratic.
The photographs are stunning. The writing and transcriptions get all the right juices flowing. I would love to hear some of the tapes Smith recorded.

Get this book as a gift for yourself or someone close to your heart.
Like the old Medicine Show man said "Good for what ails you and gives you what you ain't got".
Comment 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
On a quick thumb-through, this looks like a book I'll spend lots of random hours with. Very nicely put together, and what I expected of the BOOK.

Alas, I should have read *all* of the Amazon reviews prior to purchase. Like others, I expected at least one CD with this, and was disappointed at the absence of one (or more). I learned about this book from a year-end review of "best books." Both that review and the title of the book led me to think that it included audio (as apparently others also thought). And as much as I looked forward to the photography--and I looked forward eagerly to that--I also looked forward to hearing the rehearsal/jam banter as well as the music. Had the title been "...Photographs and Transcripts", it would be more accurate, and you wouldn't be reading reviews like this one.

One other observation: the description says "deckle edge", but the book is not. That doesn't matter to me one way or the other, but it might to some people.

Bottom line is that I'll keep the book and peruse it in leisure moments. But I agree with others who misunderstood that we feel just a little bamboozled.
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
To start with, I'm an old photography teacher, specializing in black and white. Secondly, one of my best friends is the brother of Hall Overton, a major name in this book. These are the two ground works for what I write.

Hall's brother is so proud of how the author has brought his brother and the people, music and times out so close to reality. Smith has photos beyond expectations and locations.

I know Hall Overton is depicted here as he was ...down to the smallest detail. His brother agrees.

Smith's photos are quite accurate, including moods, emotions, feelings, inspirations.

I am happy to see this material finally covered in such true and accurate detail. It is grand!
Comment 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The fact that Sam Stephenson even got this book into print should be celebrated. Without a doubt, Eugene Smith was one of the finest photographers of the 20th century. The task Stephenson had just to look at all the 40,000 plus photographs and listen to all the hours of recording that Smith did with such Jazz greats as Zoot Sims and Thelonious Monk was overwhelming. Stephenson should be honored for that alone. Smith's photographs run from the street scenes below from his loft on 821 Sixth Avenue, to jam secessions of Jazz legends. The photos are incredible, but the real problem with the book is there are not enough of them. Stephenson decides instead of more photos, he features the covers of recording tape boxes and labeling when and the circumstances they were recorded. He also transcribes the tapes. There is everything on those tapes from what was on the radio, to a conversation between two stoned musicians looking for work. At times the dialogue of the recordings are very insightful, but unfortunately most of the time they are boring and meandering. Smith was a larger than life personality in photojournalism; his career ranged from battles of WWII, to covering a Midwife in the South for Life Magazine. Smith's life in the loft involved him leaving his wife and family and turning his back on large sums of money for the life of a true artist. It is unfortunate that Stephenson did not use the limited space of a book better and let the true nature of Smith's work come through.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I saw this book at a local national chain bookstore, and heard a good review on Public Radio, but preferred buying it from Amazon. This is a really nice book, good printing quality, nice grainy images, (many of which show the typical lower view angle of the twin lens reflex) should smell like stale coffee and cigarette smoke to make it better, but, alas, a mistake was made. This book should have had a music CD in it to go along for the mood. To me, a really serious error, and whoever made the decision NOT to put a CD in it is an idiot. Hence four stars instead of five. The book is medium sized and a nice step away from the more formal photography books where every image is treated like some kind of moment in time and fawned about excessively. In this book the images are in context with a running history/conversation that can take you back in time. For some of us it might rekindle an interest in a type of photography which has now been replaced by the digital stream of too much of the same. Also books of this type should have a mandatory preview capacity on Amazon with better planning to show the real content. As a matter of fact, Amazon should have a policy that ALL photography books have a preview capacity.

Shipping on this book by Amazon was mishandled. It was put in a container with a much larger book, improperly padded and slipped and bounced around. Result: Book is damaged in one corner. I'll keep it anyway, I would like to see packers in Amazon warehouses attend some classes in shipping.
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?