475

Jade Visions: The Life And Music Of Scott LaFaro

By

Sign in to view read count
Jade Visions: The Life And Music Of Scott LaFaro
Helene LaFaro-Fernandez
Hardcover; 322 pages
ISBN: 1-57441-273-4
University of North Texas Press
2009

At the outset, I have to own up to bassist Scott LaFaro being a personal hero. Growing up in Geneva, NY, also home to the bassist, it was always a point of pride that this man, a major contributor in changing the role of his instrument in jazz, came from the same place I did. I never knew him, being a generation removed, but he loomed large in my pantheon once I discovered jazz and the fact that he played with Ornette Coleman.

Jade Visions, by his sister Helene LaFaro-Fernandez, is a long-awaited volume. She writes warmly and with pride, providing a vibrant and endearing study of a young musician in very human terms and with a very human, non-starry eyed voice. When it comes to the music, she collaborated with veteran jazz writer Gene Lees and allowed LaFaro's fellow bassists to have a major voice in the book (Gary Peacock's comments are particularly enlightening). When it comes to musical analysis, she turns over the reins to Jeff Campbell, an Eastman School of Music professor and bassist for Trio East, and Phil Palombi, a young bassist who transcribed all of LaFaro's solos from the Bill Evans Village Vanguard sessions. While Campbell's chapter requires some musical knowledge, it's fairly readable by the layman. The book is capped off by a thorough discography by Chuck Ralston.

LaFaro's main discography only extends from 1958-61, when he died in a car accident at the age of 25. Many of his early sessions were obscure West Coast dates that have not been reissued (see the concurrently released and same-titled Resonance recording from 1961). It's astonishing that his massive reputation is primarily based on a handful of albums that feature him in full flower: the four recorded with the Bill Evans Trio, two by Coleman and Jazz Abstractions, a Gunther Schuller recording. His work on these is so amazing, his facility on his instrument so fluid, his melodic ideas and group interplay concepts so advanced that they still reverberate today.

Finally LaFaro has a worthy volume commensurate with his stature in music.

Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Book Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Charles Mingus Charles Mingus
bass, acoustic
Paul Chambers Paul Chambers
bass, acoustic
Charlie Haden Charlie Haden
bass, acoustic
Kenny Dorham Kenny Dorham
trumpet
Rufus Reid Rufus Reid
bass, acoustic
Sam Jones Sam Jones
bass, acoustic
Riccardo Del Fra Riccardo Del Fra
bass, acoustic
Leroy Vinnegar Leroy Vinnegar
bass, acoustic

More Articles

Read "Kickback City: Deluxe Edition" Book Reviews Kickback City: Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: July 24, 2016
Read "Dafnis Prieto: A World Of Rhythmic Possibilities" Book Reviews Dafnis Prieto: A World Of Rhythmic Possibilities
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 18, 2016
Read "Jazz Festival: Jim Marshall" Book Reviews Jazz Festival: Jim Marshall
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 11, 2016
Read "Slim Harpo: Blues King Bee of Baton Rouge" Book Reviews Slim Harpo: Blues King Bee of Baton Rouge
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 21, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!