In 1957, photo essayist W. Eugene Smith moved into an old building in Manhattan’s Flower District. Populated by painters, photographers, and composers, the building became a gathering spot for New York’s best jazz musicians. Smith took thousands of photographs of musicians at the “Jazz Loft” and wired the building with microphones, recording jam sessions. This new documentary unearths a treasure trove of his photos and tapes to create a portrait of Smith and the unbelievable nexus of musical activity around him, including Thelonious Monk and Hall Overton preparing for Monk’s famed 1959 Town Hall concert.

Watch a Q&A with the filmmaker at a New York Documentary Film Festival below.

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Sara Fishko
Running Time
87 minutes