Ron Free, a prodigious drummer from Charleston, South Carolina, was the Jazz Loft’s "house drummer" from 1958 to 1960. Holing up in W. Eugene Smith’s apartment for weeks at a time, he jammed with everyone from Thelonious Monk to Chick Corea. Eventually, Free's personal struggles with drug addiction forced him to leave New York. But Smith’s tapes provide the enduring proof of Free’s musical legacy.
This is a slightly updated version of The Jazz Loft Radio Series, which first aired on WNYC in November in 2009, in conjunction with Sam Stephenson’s book “The Jazz Loft Project." We are re-distributing the entire series now on the occasion of the release of Sara Fishko's documentary, "The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith," which debuted at the New Orleans Film Festival in October of 2015.
Thanks to the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, our original partner in the production of The Jazz Loft Radio Series.
The Jazz Loft Radio Series was supported in part by a grant from The National Endowment for the Humanities; and by an award from The National Endowment for the Arts.