Archive for Press

Jazz Loft Swings Through Raleigh-Durham

A preview in today’s Raleigh News & Observer, with a list of associate events this winter and spring.

-JLP Staff

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Sonny Clark, Pt. 2 in Paris Review

HERE is my new entry for Paris Review Daily.  It is a continuation of my previous entry about Sonny Clark.


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Duran Duran in the Buick Regal

I participated in writer Karen Balcom’s new series of questionnaires regarding high school music experiences.  You can check it out HERE.

-Sam Stephenson

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New Yorker on Sonny Clark in Paris Review

A very generous post by Richard Brody with some great links and videos.

-JLP Staff

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Sonny Clark in the Paris Review Daily

Today is the anniversary of Sonny Clark’s death in 1963.  Here is the new piece with a photo of Sonny by Charles “Teenie” Harris in Pittsburgh in 1946.  Many thanks to Louise “Lulu” Lippincott, Curator of Fine Arts at the Carnegie Museum of Art (CMA), for finding this photograph for me two weeks ago, and thanks to her colleagues Kerin Shellenbarger and Laurel Mitchell.

The retrospective of Teenie Harris’ career that Lulu is working on for CMA will be, I believe, the most important photography event of 2011.  His work thwarts most of the standard liberal and conservative narratives of 20th century American history and makes everything a lot more human and complex like creators of timeless literature.  The show will open at the CMA on October 28, 2011.  Lulu is preparing to make ambitious use of projections in the exhibition, a technique I believe will have a profound effect.  As Gene Smith once said, “I can’t stand these damn shows on museum walls with neat little frames…”  Smith loved projections and if he had today’s projection technology he’d have liked them even more.


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JLP Makes VSL (sort of)

Go HERE to see this on VSL’s site (Thanks, Emily).

JANUARY 12, 2011

Hiding in plain sight

venn diagram


Vivian Maier’s street photographs

Three years ago in Chicago, a twentysomething real-estate agent named John Maloof stumbled upon a hidden treasure: tens of thousands of negatives that had once belonged to one of our best, and least-known, street photographers.

Vivian Maier spoke with a European accent, worked as a live-in nanny, and seems to have taken most of her photographs on her days off; that and the fact that she died in 2009, at the age of 83, are pretty much all we know about her. (“I didn’t know what ‘street photography’ was when I purchased them,” Maloof said of the negatives.) But Maier’s photos—which are currently on display at the Chicago Cultural Center and are also available online—have their own stories to tell, and it’s great to see them getting the recognition that Maier seems never to have sought for herself.

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JLP Exhibition in Top 10 for 2010

The notable NYC photography blog, DLK Collections, has put the Jazz Loft Project exhibition in its top 10 for 2010, out of a total of 153 photography shows.  DLK’s list of 30 shows that didn’t make the top 10 indicates the loftiness (no pun intended) of the top 10.

The JLP exhibition opens at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke on February 2 with a public reception at 7:30pm.

-JLP Staff

p.s. There’s a pretty shrewd and thoughtful comment from Tokyo at the end of the DLK blog entry.

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Jazz Loft Project Wins 2010 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award

pic_DeemTaylorThis morning the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers issued a press release announcing their 42nd Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards.  Here’s part of it:

The ASCAP Deems Taylor Multimedia Award honors three inter-related undertakings: a book, The Jazz Loft Project: Photographs and Tapes of W. Eugene Smith from 821 Sixth Avenue, 1957-1965,Written by Sam Stephenson, Published by Alfred A. Knopf; a radio program, The Jazz Loft Project Radio Series: Produced at WNYC Radio (in association with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University) by Sara Fishko with Dean Cappello, Julie Burstein and Edward Haber; and a website,, produced at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University by Sam Stephenson, Lauren Hart and Dan Partridge.

The numbers of invaluable people and institutions who made JLP possible can’t be listed here.  Some of them are listed above.  Three key institutions that aren’t mentioned are Smith’s archive at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona; the Splinter Group of Carrboro, NC who created our website; and the New York Public Library for Performing Arts at Lincoln Center that opened the JLP exhibition last February.

This project seemed impossible at times; quite a few times, actually.  But we had a home that welcomed every aspect of it – the unique Center for Documentary Studies at Duke (warm thanks to Tom Rankin, Greg Britz, and Lynn McKnight) – and we had funding from the Reva and David Logan Foundation of Chicago.  The gutsy Logan funding (nobody had ever heard these tapes and our first grant proposals failed for that reason) allowed us to travel to twenty-one states and interview more than 400 participants from the scene at 821 Sixth Avenue.  The Logan funding also bought us time to achieve grants from NEH, National Archives, and Grammy Foundation to preserve and catalog Smith’s 4000 hours of tapes, a daunting (and ongoing) project by itself.  Without a home and without support, you can’t do work like this.  In today’s economic climate this work may well have been impossible.

Also winning an award this year is longtime JLP friend Robin D.G. Kelley for his remarkable biography of Monk.  That pleases us.

Special gratitude to Sara Fishko for submitting the entry to ASCAP for us, not to mention the beautiful, moving series she created.

Finally, indelible gratitude goes to the Smith family and estate.

- Sam Stephenson

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Summer JLP Media and Press Highlights

A selection of new and recent things from the summer, in case you missed them, if you are interested:

Sam Stephenson radio interview by Jim Sintetos in advance of the Monterey Jazz Festival.  KRML radio in Carmel, CA.  September 6, 2010.

Gary Hawkins, Thelonious Monk, Jason Moran, the Jazz Loft Project, and IN MY MIND.  Chicago Examiner.  September 2, 2010.

JLP segment by Richard Steele on WBEZ Chicago Public Radio’s Eight Forty-Eight program.  September 2, 2010.

JLP Wins Award for Innovative Use of Archives from The Archivists Roundtable of Metropolitan New York, Inc.  August 31, 2010.

Nicole Rudick on JLP in Aperture magazine.  Summer 2010.

JLP in Chicago.  (Chicago Reader. July 15, 2010).

JLP at the New Mexico Jazz FestivalSanta Fe New Mexican July 16, 2010 and the Weekly Alibi July 8-14, 2010.

Le Tresor Cache D’ Eugene Smith.”  From Paris, France, a promising new magazine, Polka. Summer 2010.

Bondo Wyszpolski on JLP in Easy Reader, the alt-weekly of Hermosa, Manhattan, and Redondo beaches, California.  July 14, 2010.

Gene Santoro on JLP in American History magazine.  June 2010 issue.

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JLP: “An Entirely Different Animal”


This piece by Bondo Wyszpolski in the new issue of Easy Reader, the alt-weekly of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Redondo Beach, California, is one of the most thoughtful JLP write-ups we’ve seen.  Mention is made of some of the strange, non-jazz elements of JLP and we dig that.  We’ll have to make sure Bondo knows the JLP show will be in San Diego in 2012.

We also dig this whole publication.  Check out the July 4 “Ironman” contest, which includes drinking a 6-pack of beer, and the karaoke taxi cab video on the right hand side of the page.  Of course there’s also the surf report (poor conditions today) and the cartoon above.

I had high hopes for David Milch’s disappointing HBO show, John from Cincinnati, because southern California beach content is endlessly good.  Thomas Pynchon nailed it in his recent novel, Inherent Vice.  (Speaking of Pynchon I wrote about him here two weeks ago).

We love being in the Hermosa Beach news, too, because a lot of the loft regulars (Sonny Clark, Zoot Sims, many others) were once regulars at the Lighthouse club there.  I’ve always thought that club in the 1950s would make a great setting for a fictional TV series.  I once drafted a treatment for a one-hour pilot called The Lighthouse set there in 1955.  You’ve got vintage jazz, surfing and beach parties and Annette Funicello, hey wow real estate developers, Mob activity…pretty much everything.

Finally, Bondo’s article also makes mention of the new Getty Center exhibition which features work by Aileen Mioko Smith and W. Eugene Smith. I wrote about seeing some of that work recently in Williamsburg, VA.  I need to make it out there to see this interesting-looking show that also includes the work of CDS friends Lauren Greenfield and Mary Ellen Mark.

-Sam Stephenson

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