The Jazz Loft, a music venue and museum located in Stony Brook Village, has recently completed an ambitious renovation project of its basement, now known as the “Coal Bin.”
The name is a salute to juke joints of the early 20th Century, such as Herb McCarthy’s Bowden Square which featured a basement space for music called the Coal Bin, which was literally located in the coal bin area of the building’s basement. The new Coal Bin at the Jazz Loft will serve as a functional work space as the Jazz Loft continues its mission of archiving and preserving Jazz history.
Funding for the project came from a $40,000 grant from The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, Inc. and a matching gift from Jazz Loft patron Dan Oliveri.
The Jazz Loft’s basement section was updated and transformed into a multi-use work space which will be utilized by Stony Brook University (SBU) student interns, who will begin an archiving, inventory project and digitalizing project of the more than 10,000 historical Jazz artifacts in the possession of the museum. The interns will be using a program designed by students enrolled in a very unique class at the University called “Benevolent Computing,” offered by the Department of Computer Science within the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The course is directed by SBU professor Tony Scarlatos and such as its name suggests, explores the phenomenon of how software applications can affect positive social change in the world.
“The Jazz Loft’s mission is dedicated to the preservation, education and performance of Jazz and we now have a fantastic workspace for us to properly archive and store our Jazz collection,” said Jazz Loft founder Tom Manuel. “It is an honor to have this project supported by the Robert David Lion Gardiner, which has also enabled us to preserve a part of our building that is 250 years old.”
According to Manuel, the museum currently possesses paper records, sheet music, personal possessions of Jazz legends past and present, posters, photos, diaries, manuscripts, programs, musical instruments, vinyl record collections and more that require cataloging and storage.
The Jazz Loft is located at 275 Christian Avenue in Stony Brook. Visit www.thejazzloft.org for further information.