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This series contains oral history transcripts in printed and electronic form, along with audio and video recordings of oral history interviews completed as part of the Jazz Loft Project. Many interviewees either visited or lived in the Jazz Loft building--e.g. David X. Young, Nancy Overton, Ron Free, Carole Thomas, and James Stephenson. Other interviewees were family members, musicians or artists in the New York city cultural scene, or scholars with pertinent information and stories that related to the Jazz Loft building--e.g. Whitney Balliett (jazz critic for the New Yorker), Robin D. G. Kelley (Thelonious Monk biographer), and the children of W. Eugene Smith. The original oral history recordings are closed to use, but digital access copies are available.

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Mike Allemana (b. 1969) was born in Elmhurst, IL. As a jazz guitarist in Chicago, he played with Von Freeman and Lin Halliday in the 1990's.

In this oral history, while briefly describing their own lives and musical backgrounds, Mike Allemana and Dennis Carroll talk primarily about the life, reputation, and death of saxophonist and frequent Jazz Loft visitor, Lin Halliday. Halliday's drug use, family history, and experiences playing in New York, Nashville, Little Rock, and Chicago are also discussed.

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Frank Amoss (b. 1936) was born in Baltimore, MD. He was a drummer and lived on the fifth floor of the Jazz Loft building from June-November, 1961.

In this oral history, Amoss discusses his musical beginnings as a player in the Army and with the Dean Hudson band. Upon his relocation to New York City in 1961, Amoss immediately became involved with the city's jazz community, moving into the Jazz Loft only a couple of weeks after arriving in the city. Amoss also talks about the interaction between musicians and the musicians' union, as well as other musicians who frequented the Jazz Loft including Ronnie Free, Pete Yellin,and Dudley Watkins.

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Roberta Arnold (b. ca. 1941) frequented the Jazz Loft with saxophonist Ronnie Cuber in 1961-62 (they later married and then divorced). At the time, she was a dancer, and she later became an artist manager.

In this oral history, Arnold talks about her first visit to the Jazz Loft with Joe Lopes in 1961. She discusses the generally poor treatment of women musicians and singers within the jazz community, as well as the competitive, experimental atmosphere at the Jazz Loft. Arnold also mentions the physical state of the Jazz Loft building, W. Eugene Smith's studio, and other musicians she encountered at the Loft including Jimmy Stevenson, Chick Corea, and Ronnie Cuber.

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Whitney Balliett (1926-2007) was a jazz critic and book reviewer for the New Yorker from 1954-2001.

In this oral history, Balliett talks about his experiences as a jazz critic and enthusiast, the development and documentation of the New York City jazz scene starting in the late 1950's, and the development of the jazz sound over the years. Balliett also discusses his role as consultant for the CBS "Sound of Jazz" program and how his personal writing influences, including Joseph Mitchell, affected the style of his jazz column for the New Yorker.

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Bob Brookmeyer (1929-2011) was born in Kansas City, MO. He was a pianist, trombonist, arranger, and professor at the New England conservatory. He was a friend of David X. Young and Hall Overton, and he participated in many Jazz Loft jam sessions between 1954 and 1959.

In this oral history, Brookmeyer discusses his memories of the Jazz Loft and goes into great detail about many of the artists and musicians who populated the scene including Zoot Sims, Salvador Dali, Lee Konitz, David X. Young, Teddy Charles, and Ronnie Free. Brookmeyer talks about the influence of the Jazz Loft on the music scene and how it created a creative space for experimentation and community.

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Bill Crow (b 1927) was born in Othello, WA. He learned to play piano as a child, and he played trumpet, baritone, and sousaphone through school. He began playing with jazz musicians and learned the bass. He frequently participated in Jazz Loft jam sessions with close friend Zoot Sims.

In multiple interviews, Crow talks about his musical development and learning a range of instruments including valve trombone, drums, and saxophone, as well as his experiences playing in the Army, and his presence at the Jazz Loft. Crow also discusses working with players like Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Al Haig and how being a part of the jazz scene drew him into writing.

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Harold Feinstein (b 1931) was born in Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY and began taking photographs at age 15. He was an original loft resident from 1954 – 1957, when he turned it over to Gene Smith.

In this photograph, Feinstein worked with Eugene Smith early on in his career, helping Smith edit and design the layouts for his famous Pittsburgh project. In this oral history, Feinstein discusses his work with Smith, his own development as a photographer, and about other people he encountered at the Jazz Loft including Sonny Rollins, Teddy Charles, Charles Mingus, and Dick Cary.

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Ron Free (b 1936) was born in Charleston, SC. Free began residency as loft house drummer in 1958, crashing on a recliner in Smith's loft until early 1960.

In multiple interviews, Free talks about his upbringing, his first musical gigs in Charleston, S.C., and his life experiences at the Jazz Loft, particularly his time living with W. Eugene Smith Free. He also discusses his drug use, Smith's recording techniques, and his interactions with other musicians and personages at the Jazz Loft and in New York City including Woody Herman, Dave McKenna, Freddie Greenwell, and Pepper Adams.