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Loft JazzImprovising New York in the 1970s$
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Michael C. Heller

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520285408

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520285408.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021



(p.127) 6 Space
Loft Jazz

Michael C. Heller

University of California Press

This chapter discusses the physical spaces of the lofts, exploring how the surrounding environment afforded certain types of performer and listener experience. In contrast to architectural accounts of loft conversions for high-end housing—which often romanticize the industrial history of old factories—musicians' accounts tended to be largely devoid of nostalgia for a bygone era. Instead, descriptions of loft jazz venues generally focused on the creative possibilities enabled by the presence of large, raw spaces. By emphasizing the liberatory potential of blank space, rather than the nostalgic echoes of industrial place, organizers stressed underlying values of reclamation and community-building. The chapter goes on to consider descriptions that referenced markers of domesticity in loft venues, a factor that carried additional resonances in regard to gender politics.

Keywords:   lofts, loft conversions, high-end housing, loft jazz venues, reclamation, community-building, domesticity, gender politics

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