Much as LIFE photographer Gjon Mili had done in the ’40s, Smith opened his loft to jazz musicians looking for a place to play after hours. “Eugene was a voracious consumer of music—on a level where he couldn’t get enough—so when his place filled with musicians, it was a natural fit. It kept the fascination going,” Fishko says. Smith hot-wired the building for sound and began recording everything: rehearsals, twelve-hour jam sessions, radio broadcasts, casual conversations, as if his artistic vision could no longer be contained in one medium alone. His favorite was saxophonist Zoot Sims, who, like Smith, would stay up for days doing nothing but work on his craft. “Eugene felt a kinship with people like Zoot, who were such naturals and so good at what they did that they didn’t want to do anything else but that, with other people of like mind and like skill,” Fishko asserts.