Loft Jazz Celebrated in (a) Volume

New York City in the late 1960s and early 1970s may have been gritty and down at its heels, but it was involved with a lot more than the sex trade on The Deuce.  University of Pittsburgh ethnomusicologist/historian Michael C. Heller tells Perfect Sound Forever’s Daniel Barbiero how at that point a variety of factors led to the growth of Jazz’s so-called Loft Movement. Heller’s book, Loft Jazz: Improvising New York in the 1970s, presents a comprehensive history of the period, which has subsequently been eclipsed by the celebration New York’s more fashionable Downtown music scene. However many venues that flourished during that period – now all unfortunately defunct – run by such figures as saxophonist Sam Rivers and drummer Rashied Ali, used the ideas of community outreach and Black self-help to create a non-commercial space for experimental musicians to work. This pioneering concept allowed these players to move on to better-paying gigs and more exposure in higher-end clubs and European festivals. The lofts helped maintain the careers of veterans such as saxophonists Sonny Simmons and Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre and provided regular work for then-younger plays like bassist William Parker, saxophonist Arthur Blythe and violinist Billy Bang.