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Jade Visions: The Life and Music of Scott LaFaro (North Texas Lives of Musician Series) Hardcover – September 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: North Texas Lives of Musician Series (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: University of North Texas Press (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574412736
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574412734
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,182,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Fernandez’ insightful comments about her brother offer far more than jazz scholars have ever known about this significant and somewhat enigmatic figure in the history of jazz. All in all, a very complete portrait.”—Bill Milkowski, author of Jaco: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius

"LaFaro's story is compelling not only because of his own prowess as a musician, but also due to the company he kept. How many musicians by their twenty-fifth year could say they had played with Benny Goodman, Ornette Coleman, Chet Baker, Stan Kenton, and Bill Evans? Only one. Scott LaFaro."—Frank Alkyer, publisher, Down Beat

"Scott LaFaro was a true jazz innovator. His sound, sense of time and melodic invention blazed a trail for modern bassists and he was a beacon of light for those players who dreamed of more freedom within structure. Bill Evans once described Scott’s playing to me:  'He was really discovering something every night on the bandstand. He had all these ideas that were just bubbling up out of him. And he had a way of finding notes that were more fundamental than the fundamental.' " —Marc Johnson, bassist

"Scott LaFaro was a brilliant artist whose untimely death remains one of the great tragedies of jazz more than four decades later."—Jed Eisenman, manager of the Village Vanguard jazz club

"Scotty was amazing. . . worked with all five fingers. . . ridiculously wonderful. . . most inventive."—Dick Berk, drummer

"Scotty’s playing was the bible for bass players … Jimmy Blanton the old testament, Scotty, the new."—Christian McBride, bassist


"It's astonishing that [LaFaro's] 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."--AllAboutJazz.com


"LaFaro, simply put, changed jazz bass playing. . . . His professional career lasted a mere seven years, but during that brief but prolific tenure he collaborated with a dizzyingly diverse array of leaders, among them Bill Evans, Benny Goodman, Ornette Coleman, Stan Kenton, Steve Kuhn, Stan Getz, Victor Feldman, Booker Little, Herb Geller and Chet Baker. . . . The bio provides not only a detailed account of LaFaro's too-short life, but also insight into his personality."--JazzTimes


"This portrait by his sister, with help from an army of fans and enthusiasts, aims to set down a comprehensive portrait of the man and his music. And it succeeds admirably. . . . [T]his is a book no serious enthusiast for LaFaro or his music can afford to be without."--Jazzwise


"In the jazz world, Scott LaFaro was truly a shooting star, leaving behind a huge legacy for others to study and enjoy. . . . Throughout the book, musicians he worked with comment on his phenomenal abilities. his strong work ethic and his absolute dedication to jazz, in all its forms."--L.A. Jazz Scene

About the Author

HELENE LaFARO-FERNáNDEZ was born in Irvington, New Jersey, but spent most of her youth in Geneva, New York. In 1957 she joined her brother Scott in Los Angeles and has made her home there ever since. This is her first book.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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13%
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See all 15 customer reviews
This book was very well written.
greenturtle
There are a lot of very interesting comments by the musicians who knew him and by other bassists who were influenced by him.
Richard F. Felix
............This is a remarkable book about a very special man.
Richard Walter Lonergan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Madeleine Crouch on November 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Jade Visions is the first and only biography devoted to the too-brief life and meteoric career of jazz bassist Scott LaFaro. Known best as a member of pianist Bill Evans' dream trio, which included the still-vital drummer Paul Motian, LaFaro also performed across the entire spectrum of jazz in the '50s and early '60s, from the big bands of Benny Goodman and Stan Kenton, to romantic balladeer-trumpeter Chet Baker, to the free jazz adventures of Ornette Coleman and Gunther Schuller.

Little has been known about LaFaro's life off-stage until now. A private person, judged as aloof and even unlikeable by some who encountered him casually, he was already obsessed by music and the uncompromising pursuit of excellence by the time he reached high school. Jade Visions, written by his sister Helene LaFaro Fernandez, tells an engaging tale of their unconventional upbringing, along with their three younger sisters, by rather free-thinking parents in a large and affectionate Italian-American family.

LaFaro's short life was not dramatic compared to the well-chronicled meltdowns and often self-inflicted health problems of similarly gifted artists. He did not face racial discrimination, as did so many jazz stars of the era. He helped watch over his four sisters and mother after the premature death of his father. He sent playful postcards to his family from the road, and checked out his kid sister Helene's dates to make sure they measured up to his expectations. But on stage and in the practice room, he was, to sum up in a single word, intense.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Richard Walter Lonergan on December 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
............This is a remarkable book about a very special man. The book gives valuable insights into Scott LaFaro's early life, his musical education, his total devotion to his bass playing(often to the discomfort of his hotel room-mates on tour). It makes ample reference to his relations and friendships with many musicans and influences especially, Victor Feldman, Charlie Haden and many others. Also,rather eerily, following the sudden death of his father, he spoke of his belief that he himself would not live for many years. The fatal car accident proved only too well how prescient this belief would be. The book covers many comments about his playing and influences from some of the major jazz musicians such as Stan Getz,Bill Evans(with whom he performed for those magical recordings at the village Vanguard only days before his death) Ray Brown, Stanley Clarke, Eddie Gomez to mention only a few. I recommend this book to any aspiring musician who might be then able to realise how a combination of musical genius and total dedication enabled Scott LaFaro to reach the heights he did in such a short, but vivid life.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Richard F. Felix on September 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book on the greatest jazz bassist the world has even known. There are a lot of very interesting comments by the musicians who knew him and by other bassists who were influenced by him. It is very well written by Scotty's sister Helene who knows more about his personal life than anyone.
I highly recommend this book to any musician who is serious about his art. It is about an extremely talented and dedicated musician who's life ended much too soon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jean A on August 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While most jazz bassists maintain the pulse of the music from the harmonic cellar of the musical tapestry, Scott LaFaro filled his musical chair and went on to create a whole new suite of "up from the basement" furnishings. His contributions to the bass and to jazz in general have yet to be surpassed, even now, more than forty years after his death and extraordinary (though far too short) career.

This easy read, lovingly put together by LaFaro's sister, includes numerous passages by notable jazz musicians who worked with and knew LaFaro. This book is, at least, an important historical compilation of jazz anecdotes: at best, a warm, and loving tribute to a ground breaking, perhaps unsung hero of jazz.

In addition to the fascinating anecdotes, several musical examples are included that give a real insight to the artist behind the recordings. Bits of handwritten chord changes and sketches for new compositions taken from LaFaro's notebook made this reader feel as if I were viewing ancient sea scrolls for the first time.

Jazz bassists- this is required reading. Jazz enthusiasts- this will bring you a new depth of understanding for the music you love. All others- you will find a story, though tragic, of artistic expression of the highest level. Find inspiration here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BASSMANJDT@AOL.COM on January 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this is so inclusive and serves so many purposes that it could be used as a tutor. What practice routine, what strings,

how did his sound change, what his hand position changed,or did it. who did he play that he liked and different.

Did the clarinet technique help or not. How did his harmonic grow,how did he do it.

If your a bass player, like me, it the best so far.Besides great pictures and family information this book is escellent.
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