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The Jazz Loft Project Records consist of the research and administrative records of author Sam Stephenson's Jazz Loft Project, which documented the events and inhabitants -- including W. Eugene Smith, Hall Overton, and David X. Young -- of 821 6th Avenue, New York City, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The records include the tapes of an extensive oral history project conducted by Stephenson from 1998 to 2010, general research and administrative notes, logs describing the content of the audio recordings W. Eugene Smith made at the loft, and original audio recordings of Hall Overton's compositions.

The Jazz Loft Project Records include administrative documents, audio and video recordings, and collected research associated with key participants and events in the history of the Jazz Loft building, located at 821 Sixth Avenue in New York City. The collection includes significant documentation of the jazz music scene in New York from 1955-1971, and the life and work of photographer W. Eugene Smith, composer Hall F. Overton, and jazz musician Thelonious Monk. Also of note are materials that document the collection of oral histories, the design and implementation of exhibitions, and conservation reports on audio recordings all related to the Jazz Loft Project. Items in the collection range from 1950 to 2012, with the bulk being created between 2002 and 2009.

A majority of materials in this collection consist of the project's financial and logistical documentation, oral history interviews in print, audio, and video formats, audio reel analysis notes, and biographical/historical articles. Examples of these types of documentation include correspondence, book drafts, promotional materials for exhibitions and events, research notes, and interview transcripts.

The collection contains 824 audiovisual items, including microcassettes, audiocassettes, VHS videocassettes, ¼-inch audio reels, DVDs, CDs, mini-DV videocassettes, and digital audio tapes (DAT). The bulk of this media is associated with oral history interviews, events and exhibitions, and research related to the Jazz Loft Project, but there are also items tangentially related to the Project, such as commercial music recordings, recordings of concerts and performances, original recordings of Hall Overton's opera Huck Finn, and published documentary footage related to W. Eugene Smith and other artists.

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The W. Eugene Smith Reference Reference CD Collection includes 5,087 compact discs containing audio originally recorded to quarter-inch open reel tape by photographer W. Eugene Smith. Smith recorded the bulk of the 1,740 reels represented in this collection between 1957 and 1971, while living in the "Jazz Loft" at 821 Sixth Avenue in New York City. The original tapes are housed in the W. Eugene Smith Collection at the University of Arizona's Center for Creative Photography.

The W. Eugene Smith Reference Reference CD Collection consists of 5,087 compact discs containing audio originally recorded to quarter-inch open reel tape by photographer W. Eugene Smith. Smith recorded the bulk of the 1,740 reels represented in this collection between 1957 and 1971, while living in the "Jazz Loft" at 821 Sixth Avenue in New York City. The tapes are housed in the W. Eugene Smith Collection at the University of Arizona's Center for Creative Photography, which, in partnership with the Center for Documentary Studies and other funders, facilitated the transfer to compact disc as part of writer Sam Stephenson's research on the Jazz Loft and the life of Smith.

Stephenson and the staff of CDS began a years-long process of discovering the content of the recordings, a process documented in Stephenson's book, The Jazz Loft Project, and on the Project website, http://www.jazzloftproject.org/. They found that Smith's microphones had captured jazz jams, conversations, ambient sounds, radio and television programs, and all variety of life in the Loft, creating an aural portrait that uniquely and exhaustively documents from within one of New York's creative crucibles of the 1950s and 1960s.

The recordings in this finding aid are organized by reel number and accompanied by a set of notes created by CDS, which is included here verbatim for each reel. The researcher should note that spelling, grammatical, typographical, and content errors have been left intact. Because Smith often recorded his tapes at a low speed, which enabled him to fit more content on the tape, many of the tapes have more than one compact disc associated with them.