Sara Fishko is an Executive Producer and Host at WNYC, specializing in culture.
This web extra for episode 4, Hall Overton, features photographs from W. Eugene Smith and an interview excerpt from Loft regular Carman Moore.
The admiration and love for Hall Overton spills out of those who remember him: a portrait emerges of a brilliant, open-minded musician with a modest, self-effacing manner and an ever-present dangling cigarette. Overton taught countless students in the Loft, where he lived for a time, ignoring musical boundaries to teach both classical and jazz (the classical musicians appreciated his spontaneity; the jazz players admired his training and skill). He also hosted symposia, arranged the impossible-to-arrange, preached the gospel of jazz on television and played pretty good jazz piano.
Photos: © 1957 - 1965, 2009 The Heirs of W. Eugene Smith
Audio: Jazz Loft audio clips courtesy Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.
But I kept hearing music that I thought was somebody else’s and we couldn’t lay our fingers on who it was and it actually turned out that my brain had been composing. So he said: ‘you need to go study, or get a good doctor.’ So I decided to try the study thing first. And he said: ‘I’ve got just the guy for you. A guy called Hall Overton.