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Scott LaFaro

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.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, LaFaro grew up in a musical family (his father played in many big bands). He started on piano while in elementary school, began on the bass clarinet in Junior High School, changing to tenor saxophone when he entered High School. He only took up the double bass the summer before he entered college, since learning a string instrument was required for music majors. About three months into college, LaFaro decided to concentrate on bass.

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Album Review

Hampton Hawes: For Real!

Read "For Real!" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci


There are, Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote, no second acts in American life. For pianist Hampton Hawes, born in 1928, there was scarcely a first. No sooner was he established as an up-and-coming talent than he was drafted into the Army. When he got out, he tried to pick up where he left off. A heroin habit he had acquired prior to military service led to a harsh incarceration because he refused to become an informer. Only a grant of clemency ...

17
Album Review

Bill Evans: The Legendary Trio At Birdland 1960 Revisited

Read "The Legendary Trio At Birdland 1960 Revisited" reviewed by Glenn Astarita


Bill Evans' The Legendary Trio at Birdland 1960 is a seminal recording that captures a fleeting moment of jazz brilliance, immortalizing the profound synergy of Evans with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. Recorded live at the iconic Birdland Jazz Club in New York City, this album is a vivid snapshot of a group at the peak of its creative powers, navigating the complexities of jazz standards and original compositions with unparalleled grace and fluidity. The trio's ...

8
Album Review

Bill Evans: The Legendary Trio At Birdland 1960 Revisited

Read "The Legendary Trio At Birdland 1960 Revisited" reviewed by John Eyles


Keen-eyed Bill Evans aficionados will know that this album is the pianist's third in the Revisited series by ezz-thetics, following At The Village Vanguard 1961 Revisited and the double-CD Duos with Jim Hall & Trios '64 & '65 Revisited, both released in 2023. “The Legendary Trio" refers to the threesome of Evans, bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian, the same group that recorded at the Village Vanguard in 1961. The Legendary Trio was brought to a tragic end ten ...

7
Liner Notes

Bill Evans: The Legendary Trio At Birdland 1960 Revisited

Read "Bill Evans: The Legendary Trio At Birdland 1960 Revisited" reviewed by Chris May


Thank you, Boris Rose. The obsessive New York jazz maverick set out to record every musician of note who performed in the city's clubs from the mid 1940s through the mid 1970s. He must have come close to succeeding. His vast accumulated horde of tapes--today presumed more or less safe, stacked floor to ceiling in a sizeable Bronx basement under the guardianship of his daughter Elaine--is a treasure beyond mere monetary value. Annotated but uncatalogued, there are many hundreds, perhaps ...

16
Album Review

Bill Evans Trio: At The Village Vanguard 1961 Revisited

Read "At The Village Vanguard 1961 Revisited" reviewed by Mark Corroto


Imagine yourself in Greenwich Village June 25, 1961. You are in attendance at a small pie shaped club called the Village Vanguard run by Max Gordon. This is before it was to be crowned as a jazz holy ground. Sonny Rollins had recorded his famous A Night At The “Village Vanguard" (Blue Note, 1957). John Coltrane would record there in November of 1961 and again in 1966. The spot is a shrine with sessions from legends such as Albert Ayler, ...

9
Liner Notes

Bill Evans Trio: At The Village Vanguard 1961 Revisited

Read "Bill Evans Trio: At The Village Vanguard 1961 Revisited" reviewed by Chris May


Liner notes generally avoid referencing current affairs, for the good reason that what is front page news when the notes are being written may be gone and forgotten by the time the album is released. But there are exceptional circumstances, and here is one of them. On his father's side, Bill Evans was of Welsh heritage, and on his mother's side, Russian, or rather Ukrainian, the two countries during his lifetime often being conflated as a result ...

15
Album Review

Bill Evans: Waltz For Debby

Read "Waltz For Debby" reviewed by Mark Corroto


In a very unscientific survey, 9 out of 10 jazz connoisseurs listed Waltz For Debby by the Bill Evans Trio as one of their desert island picks. For more than sixty years it has been a best seller and this reissue, like its companion release Sunday At The Village Vanguard (Craft Recordings, 2023), is part of a newly relaunched Original Jazz Classic series. From the original tapes, both are all-analog masters by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, pressed on 180-gram ...

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Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Scott LaFaro's birthday today!

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 ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Scott LaFaro's birthday today!

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 ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Scott LaFaro's birthday today!

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 ...

1

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Scott LaFaro's birthday today!

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 ...

1

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Scott LaFaro's birthday today!

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 ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Scott LaFaro's birthday today!

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 ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Scott LaFaro's birthday today!

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 ...

1

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Scott LaFaro's birthday today!

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 ...

1

Video / DVD

Just Because: Hampton Hawes With Scott LaFaro

Just Because: Hampton Hawes With Scott LaFaro

Source: Rifftides by Doug Ramsey

Before Scott LaFaro joined the Bill Evans Trio in late 1959, the young bassist’s second west coast stint included work with Chet Baker, Barney Kessel, Victor Feldman, Cal Tjader, Stan Getz and Hampton Hawes, among others. In California, LaFaro’s tone, time and adventurous ideas put him—along with Gary Peacock and Charlie Haden—in the vanguard of a new generation of bassists who took the instrument a step beyond functional time-keeping and harmonic guidance. With Evans, he would contribute to the development ...

1

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Jazz Musician of the Day: Scott LaFaro

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Scott LaFaro's birthday today! 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 ...

"His approach to the bass...it was a beautiful thing to see...He was a constant inspiration." —Bill Evans
Gary Peacock
bass, acoustic
Frank Tusa
bass, acoustic
Ken Lister
bass, acoustic
Michael Staron
bass, acoustic
Brad Barrett
bass, acoustic
Richard Andersson
bass, acoustic
Sal La Rocca
bass, acoustic
Don Mopsick
bass, acoustic
Ronaldo Diamante
bass, acoustic
Adam Armstrong
bass, acoustic
Dominik Schürmann
bass, acoustic
Gary Kelly
bass, electric
Steven Bulmer
bass, acoustic
Jesse Dietschi
bass, acoustic
Greg Oliva
bass, electric
Bruce Phares
bass, acoustic
Max Gerl
bass
Patrick Carey
bass, electric
Petros Dragoumis
bass, electric
Rick Kilburn
bass, acoustic
Alireza Kohany
arranger
John Hench
bass, acoustic
Jodi Proznick
bass, acoustic

Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

For Real!

Craft Recordings
2024

buy

Complete Trio...

Fingerpoppin' Records
2023

buy

At The Village...

Ezz-thetics
2023

buy

Everybody Still Digs...

Craft Recordings
2021

buy

Everybody Still Digs...

Craft Recordings
2021

buy

I Hear A Rhapsody

From: Pieces Of Jade
By Scott LaFaro

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