Loft jazz  

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Loft jazz (or the loft scene or loft era) was a cultural phenomenon that occurred in New York City during the mid-1970s.

Coinciding with this activity was an influx of musicians from outside New York. Newcomers from Chicago included a group associated with the AACM; these included Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, Lester Bowie, Amina Claudine Myers, Henry Threadgill, Steve McCall, Fred Hopkins, Chico Freeman, Malachi Thompson, and George E. Lewis. Various members of the Black Artists Group came from St. Louis, including Charles "Bobo" Shaw, Baikida Carroll, Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill, Hamiet Bluiett, J. D. Parran, and Joseph Bowie. Members of Horace Tapscott's UGMAA, such as Arthur Blythe, David Murray, and Butch Morris, arrived from California. All of these, plus many local musicians, participated in the loft scene to some degree. Musically, loft jazz was in many ways a continuation of the free jazz and avant-garde jazz traditions inaugurated by John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, and Sun Ra. However, it didn't follow any one particular style or idiom. According to Scott Deveaux and Gary Giddins, "A critical byword of the Loft Era was 'eclecticism,' used to signal an enlightened approach to all styles of music." Few loft jazz musicians played continuously atonal or arhythmic music in the style of Coltrane's legendary albums Ascension and Om. They often combined conventional melodic elements with free jazz; used instruments less familiar to jazz, such as the bass saxophone, oboe and cello; and combined instruments in nontraditional formats, like the World Saxophone Quartet, whose changing members used a variety of saxophones and flutes, usually without any rhythm section.

The loft scene began to decline in the late 1970s and early 1980s, mainly due to a steady rise in rents.


A series of five LPs known as Wildflowers: The New York Loft Jazz Sessions was released on Casablanca Records in 1976, documenting sessions hosted by Sam Rivers at Studio Rivbea.

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