Sunday, December 27, 2009

Scott LaFaro - Pieces of Jade (Resonance, 2009)

Bassist Scott LaFaro was like a comet streaking across the jazz skyline. Cut down in an automobile accident at the age of only 25, he was still able to accomplish quite a bit, performing with Bill Evans and Paul Motian in a fondly remembered trio and also working with experimental progressives like Ornette Coleman. This album breaks down into four parts with the first five tracks feature LaFaro performing with pianist Don Freidman and drummer Pete Larocca. The trio plays a couple of takes of the Friedman original "Sacre Bleu" and three standards, concluding with a very nice romp through the bebop chestnut "Woody 'n' You" that makes room for a fine elastic sounding bass solo. Next is a muddy sounding but still quite listenable rehearsal tape with pianist Bill Evans and Lafaro working on the standard "My Foolish Heart." It is interesting to hear the two men search for approaches to the song, singing and humming different approaches and ideas for them to try. A spoken interlude with WKCR disc jockey George Klabin interviewing Evans about his partnership with LaFaro makes for illuminating commentary. Finally, there is a solo piano performance by Friedman called "Memories of Scotty" that brings the album to a poignant close. This was an interesting historical album. LaFaro has become a legend in the music during the intervening years since his death, and hearing him performing, especially on the rehearsal, humanizes him, and is a thoughtful reminder that this was a young man who had so much more to give to the music he clearly loved. Pieces of Jade - amazon.con

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