All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Book Reviews

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.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

I Hear A Rhapsody

I Hear A Rhapsody

Scott LaFaro
Pieces Of Jade

CD/LP/Track Review
Book Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Pieces of Jade

Pieces of Jade

Resonance Records
2010

buy
Pieces Of Jade

Pieces Of Jade

Resonance Records
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read As Serious As Your Life: Black Music And The Free Jazz Revolution 1957-1977 Book Reviews
As Serious As Your Life: Black Music And The Free Jazz...
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 14, 2018
Read Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 Book Reviews
Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968
by Doug Collette
Published: April 14, 2018
Read My Life in the Key of E Book Reviews
My Life in the Key of E
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: March 19, 2018
Read The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums Book Reviews
The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums
by Steve Provizer
Published: March 3, 2018
Read The Universe and John Coltrane: The Physics of Cosmic Vibrations Book Reviews
The Universe and John Coltrane: The Physics of Cosmic...
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Good Morning Blues Book Reviews
Good Morning Blues
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: January 11, 2018
Read "Go Slow: The Life of Julie London" Book Reviews Go Slow: The Life of Julie London
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: June 30, 2017
Read "Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In And Out Of Jazz" Book Reviews Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In And Out Of Jazz
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 13, 2017
Read "David Bowie: Behind the Curtain" Book Reviews David Bowie: Behind the Curtain
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "My Life in the Key of E" Book Reviews My Life in the Key of E
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: March 19, 2018