Pieces of Jade (Remastered) Scott LaFaro
- 1I Hear a Rhapsody06:17
- 2Sacre Bléu (Take 1)06:11
- 3On Green Dolphin Street06:36
- 4Sacre Bléu (Take 2)06:18
- 5Woody 'n' You05:38
- 6Homage to Scott by Bill Evans06:06
Info for Pieces of Jade (Remastered)
Scott LaFaro was one of the twentieth century’s most influential jazz musicians. During his tragically short life, Scott LaFaro quickly developed into one of the most advanced bassists around, competing with Charlie Haden and Charles Mingus. He emphasized high notes, could play with great speed, and his interplay with Bill Evans in their trio was mutually stimulating and influential. Best known for his landmark recordings with Bill Evans, LaFaro played bass a mere seven years before his life and career were cut short by an automobile accident when he was only 25 years old, his sudden death causing a major shock to the jazz world.
Listening to this album is like taking a quantum leap in time. It’s like eavesdropping on a New York apartment in 1961 and hearing someone playing his bass with total conviction sometimes alone, sometimes with others, resonating from where he lives. This time we hear Scotty on a recording session with Don Friedman on piano and Pete LaRoca on drums. These performances have the raw feel of a jam session and you can sense this group hasn’t benefited from a season of playing regularly together, yet there are inspired moments, from each musician. It’s another fascinating look into a ‘day-in-the-life’ of a great musician who sadly left us with too few days to travel back to again.
„Considering the legendary bassist Scott LaFaro released no albums as a leader and was known strictly as a sideman, that this recording exists is nothing less than a miracle, and an event in the annals of jazz. It consists of a brief program featuring five selections with the equally brilliant pianist Don Friedman and drummer Pete La Roca, a long rehearsal tape of "My Foolish Heart" with the Bill Evans Trio circa 1966, a 1966 interview about LaFaro with Evans, and a solo piano piece from Friedman done in 1985. So while only half of the disc faithfully features LaFaro's deep and honest bass playing, it is more than worthwhile to finally hear. Of the tracks with Friedman, LaFaro's bass is clearly heard, up in the production mix, and holds its own as a distinctive voice, his solid, resonant quarter notes pounding out these rhythms like few ever have. But it is Friedman, a brilliant jazz musician in his own right, who shines mightily on this date, and in many ways trumps Evans in terms of chops, invention, and bop energy. His fingers are flying on "I Hear a Rhapsody," buoyed by the swing of LaFaro, while conversely able to fluidly flow through non-stressed lines on "Green Dolphin Street," where his extrapolated lines combine innovation with subtlety. There are two takes of the Friedman original "Sacre Bléu," as the pianist delves deep into pure melody with slightly off-minor shadings and chiming piano chords, followed by classic LaFaro bass solos.
A version of "Woody'n You" is another furiously sped-up bop with nary a dropped note, while La Roca steams ahead, pushes the group, and challenges LaFaro and Friedman like he and few other bop-based drummers can. The solo piano piece "Memories for Scotty" is an elegant elegy or requiem for the longtime deceased bassist in hushed tones, presenting reverent remembrances and the attitude that he is sorely missed. The Bill Evans Trio take of "My Foolish Heart" is included strictly for historical purposes, a curiosity that at almost 23 minutes is tedious, and not well recorded. George Klabin's interview with Evans from 1966 is illuminating, as the pianist talks extensively about meeting LaFaro (and playing "strange" music with Chet Baker), immediately observing he was "overplaying" his instrument, feeling he was a "large" person when physically he was not, and remembering that his talent was bubbling over before he learned the virtue of restraint. Considering this is released some 50 years after LaFaro's death in a car accident at age 25, and that his career lasted a mere seven years, any nitpicking about this issue should be dismissed. It's a rare window into the soul of Scott LaFaro apart from his great sessions with Evans, and a complement to the book written by his sister Helene LaFaro Fernandez, Jade Visions.“ (Michael G. Nastos, AMG)
"His approach to the bass...it was a beautiful thing to see.. He was a constant inspiration." (Bill Evans)
"In the annals of jazz, it is rare that a musician garners both the respect and admiration of fans and musicians alike. In fact, there may be just a handful worthy of the treatment legendary bassist Scott LaFaro receives with Pieces of Jade" (AllAboutJazz)
"It's another fascinating look into a "day-in-the-life" of a great musician who sadly left us with too few days to travel back again, but who remains forever reverberating from those clubs, recording studios and rehearsal rooms where we find him recorded. We have only to listen and be transported.“ (Marc Johnson, from the booklet)
Don Friedman, piano
Scott LaFaro, bass
Pete LaRoca, drums
Recorded 1961 in New York City (tracks 1-5)
Recorded 1985 by George Klabin (track 8)
During his tragically short life, Scott LaFaro quickly developed into one of the most advanced bassists around, competing with Charlie Haden and Charles Mingus. He emphasized high notes, could play with great speed, and his interplay with Bill Evans in their trio was mutually stimulating and influential. LaFaro originally played clarinet and tenor before settling on bass while in college. He was with Buddy Morrow's band (1955-1956), toured with Chet Baker (1956-1957), and worked during the next few years with Ira Sullivan, Barney Kessel, Cal Tjader, and Benny Goodman, among others. LaFaro joined the Bill Evans Trio in 1959 and, although he would record with Ornette Coleman (including Free Jazz) and gig with Stan Getz, the bassist is best-remembered for his association with Evans, particularly their Village Vanguard recordings of 1961. The 25-year-old Scott LaFaro's death in a car accident shortly after was a major shock to the jazz world.
Rocco Scott LaFaro (April 3, 1936 July 6, 1961) was an influential American jazz double bassist, perhaps best known for his seminal work with the Bill Evans Trio.