Copies of Jade Visions will be for sale from this website in August 2009.
Please check back to this website periodically for details.
"To The Pianist, Bill Evans"
Scott LaFaro at the Newport (RI) Jazz Festival
(Sunday 2 July 1961)
-- Bill Zavatsky
Click on Updates for additions, revisions, and other changes to this site.
April 2009 -- The University of North Texas Press has announced publication in September 2009 of Jade Visions: The Life and Music of Scott LaFaro by Helene LaFaro-Fernandez ; with an introduction by Gene Lees and foreword by Don Thompson. This will be a clothbound book of 352 pages, with bibliography and discography, illustrations (photographs). Publisher's list price is $24.95.
Copies of Jade Visions will be for sale from this website in August 2009. Please check back to this website periodically for details.
Revised Discography 2000 -- entries for re-issued CDs:
This is Pat Moran: Complete Trio Sessions (2007, 1957)
Buddy DeFranco: Generalissimo / Live Date (2007, 1958)
Harold Land Quartet: Jazz at the Cellar (2007, 1958)
Scott LaFaro Memorial Award update. Added names of the most recent recipients of this scholarship-musicianship award presented at the end of the academic year at Geneva High School, Scotty's alma mater. Congratulations are in order for Mr. Ryan Kinkaid (2007), Mr. James Eddington (2006), and Ms. Emily Schule (2005).
0n Monday 2008.05.05 I received an email from the 1997 recipient of the SLF award, which I'll share:
I wanted to send a note to say thanks for the Scott LaFaro info posted on your site.
I was honored with the GHS LaFaro award several years ago and can now appreciate its significance.
In November 2005, Helene LaFaro-Fernandez, Scotty's sister and contemporary, and I met in Los Angeles to discuss approaches to writing a book about her brother. We made an initial outline of topics and sought the advice of publishers and authors, in particular, Mr. Gene Lees, esteemed author and critic and former editor of Down Beat magazine.
Helene has conducted dozens of telephonic and in-person interviews with musicians with whom Scotty played and recorded, to include drummers Lawrence Marable, Paul Motian, and Roy Haynes; pianists Paul Bley, Don Friedman, Steve Kuhn, and Walter Norris; and saxophonists Ornette Coleman, Herb Geller, Charles Lloyd, Sonny Rollins, Ira Sullivan, and Phil Urso, to name a few.
Also, Helene has interviewed three prominent musical directors who included Scotty in their ensembles: Buddy Morrow , Buddy De Franco, and Gunther Schuller. And of course, Helene has had discussions with bassists Chuck Israels and Charlie Haden, contemporary colleagues of Scotty, and with bassists Eddie Gomez and Marc Johnson, two of the principle 'bassists of Bill Evans'.
My contributions to this endeavor are the bibliography and discography (most of which is evident on this website) and what I deem to have been perhaps the catalytic agent in all of this -- conversations with Helene over the past decade about the incredible gift to jazz that her brother, Scott LaFaro, was during his short life time. Much remains to be done, but with a little luck (and the continuing thoughtful suggestions of many of you who have looked into the pages of this site) the book should be published by Summer 2009.
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Rocco Scott LaFaro (1936-1961) was a musician of the first order, who found his 'voice' in jazz in the mid-1950s. His played the double bass violin, better known today as the acoustic bass to differentiate this instrument from the electric (or electronic) bass. His life was cut short in an automobile accident in the summer of 1961 near Geneva, New York, his home town. Although he performed for only six years (1955-1961), his innovative approach to the bass astounded his contemporaries, and to this day his recorded performances continue to surprise and delight.
Those who have found the Bill Evans Jazz Resource on the Internet know of the profound interplay among Paul Motian, Scott LaFaro and Bill Evans in a jazz trio that for many musicians to this day remains a model of sonority, complexity, and swing. Scott LaFaro's bass playing 'alchemy' (to borrow from an Ornette Coleman recording on which LaFaro performed) propelled Bill Evans to meet the artistic challenge of balance in a jazz trio.
The trios of Art Tatum, Nat Cole, and Oscar Peterson feature the pianist. Bill Evans and Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian were of one voice. The Evans trios that followed in the wake of the tragic death of Scott LaFaro in 1961, continued the search for balanced interplay but, notwithstanding the contributions of Chuck Israels and Larry Bunker, Gary Peacock, Eddie Gomez and Marty Morell and Elliot Zigmund, Marc Johnson and Joe LaBarbera, musicians with technical facility and swing, the pianist's voice remained dominant.
The post-LaFaro trios of Bill Evans achieved maturity and polish, the result of many years of playing together. Evans and LaFaro and Motian played (and recorded) as a trio less than two years, from December 1959 to June 1961. It is the sense of harmonic exploration and discovery, challenge and response, time's ebb and flow, that draws one to listen again and again to Portrait in Jazz, Explorations, Sunday at the Village Vanguard, and Waltz For Debby. These recordings are as fresh today as when they were first made, and together serve as an archetype of the jazz piano trio.
Scott LaFaro's mastery of his chosen instrument began after his 1954 graduation from high school. Although he played bass only six years, LaFaro remains a beacon for jazz bassists.
Scott LaFaro Home Page
Bibliography -- Books A-F Discography -- All Acknowledgements Bibliography -- Books G-K Chronology -- 1936-1949 Discography -- 1956--1957 Items Lacking Bibliography -- Books L-R Chronology -- 1950-1955 Discography -- 1958 Memorial Award Bibliography -- Books S-Z Chronology -- 1956-1957 Discography -- 1959 Musician Associates Bibliography -- Mags A-F Chronology -- 1958 Discography -- 1960 Photography Bibliography -- Mags G-K Chronology -- 1959 Discography -- 1961 Photography 2 Bibliography -- Mags L-R Chronology -- 1960 Discography -- 1961--1979 Photography 3 Bibliography -- Mags S-Z Chronology -- 1961 Discography -- 1980--1989 Renderings Bibliography -- Miscellany Discography -- 1990--1999 Sunday Vanguard Matrix Bibliography -- Web Sources Discography -- 2000-- 2001 ISB LaFaro Tribute