If you didn’t catch The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith when it played uptown at the DOC NYC festival last year, here’s your chance to catch what really is a wonderful portrait of . The documentary is playing at Metrograph, starting with a September 23 screening featuring an appearance from director Sara Fishko.
Fishko’s documentary is an offshoot of her “Jazz Loft Radio Series,” a 10-part WNYC production that unboxed the audio recordings that legendary photographer W. Eugene Smith made while sharing his Chelsea loft with some of the jazz greats of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. The doc adds a visual element, sharing some of the thousands of photos that Smith took of the loft’s habitués, from Zoot Sims to Salvador Dali to Warhol’s Ultra Violet, and the street life below. Perhaps the most fascinating part of the film comes when Thelonius Monk works out orchestral version of his songs, for what would become The Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall.
Among those who share their memories of the jazz loft are legendary composers David Amram and Steve Reich.
If you’re too lazy to get to Metrograph (or who knows, maybe you’re holed up in a loft, on an amphetamine-fueled two-day drumming bender), don’t worry: WNYC Studios is also giving you a taste of Smith’s audio recordings by releasing the Jazz Loft Radio Series as a 10-episode podcast on iTunes. The doc will also be available there and elsewhere online starting October 7. But do get down to Metrograph if you want to hear directly from Fishko, who’ll be doing a Q&A after the 7pm screening on Sept. 23.
Our full review of the film can be found here.