Scott LaFaro


LaFaro 4Scott LaFaro (1936-1961) was a groundbreaking and innovative bassist. He performed and recorded with some of the most influential jazz musicians from 1957 until his untimely death in 1961 in an automobile accident. Originally a clarinetist, his story is unusual in that he did not begin playing the bass until he was almost 18 years old. He left college after his 1st year and quickly gained notoriety as a bassist on the west coast. The success and attention garnered by these early recordings attracted much attention in the jazz community. His playing shows the influence of the master bassists of the 1940s and 1950s, but he quickly separated himself from the pack. His playing is characterized by near perfect intonation, good harmonic understanding, full round sound, and a different approach to technique that utilized all four fingers on his right hand. This allowed him to literally dance across the strings and play in a much more acrobatic manner that his predecessors and many of his peers.

Scott LaFaro - Episode 1

On this podcast we will listen to some of his influences and check out his first recordings.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Sepia PanoramaJimmy Blanton/Duke Ellington1941
The HoneydripperRay Brown/Oscar PetersonNight Train1962
Softly As In A Morning SunrisePaul ChambersThe Paul Chambers Quintet1957
Serpent's ToothVictor FeldmanThe Arrival of Victor Feldman1958
BebopVictor FeldmanThe Arrival of Victor Feldman1958
For RealHampton HawesFor Real!1958
Chasing ShadowsVictor FeldmanThe Arrival of Victor Feldman1958
Ginza SambaStan Getz and Cal Tjader Sextet1958

Scott LaFaro - Episode 2

Before his tenure with the famous Bill Evans Trio, Scott performed with a number of well-known big bands in California. He was a featured soloist with the Stan Kenton Orchestra for a short period in 1959, also making memorable recordings with arranger Marty Paich and saxophonists Stan Getz and Herb Geller. Moving back to New York in late 1959, LaFaro began his association with a number of influential musicians and recorded on a number of groundbreaking recordings. Work with Booker Little, Ornette Coleman, and John Lewis helped solidify him as one of the most important young bassists on the jazz scene. His performance, together with bassist Charlie Haden, on the groundbreaking recording Free Jazz in 1960 was a revelation for bassists. This free approach to jazz would revolutionize jazz in the 1960s. His association with pianist Bill Evans began in the late 1950s. Scott brought a new, more interactive approach to his work with the Evans trio starting in 1959.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
It’s Alright with MeMarty PaichBroadway Bit1959
Bernie's TuneStan KentonStan Kenton in Concert1959
Cow SongHerb GellerGypsy1959
Bee Tee's Minor PleaBooker LittleBooker Little1960
Variant IJohn LewisJazz Abstractions1960
Variants on Criss CrossJohn LewisJazz Abstractions1960

Scott LaFaro - Episode 3

The recordings from this podcast chronicle his early work with pianist Bill Evans and some one-off recordings with clarinetist Toney Scott and a short live trio with pianist Steve Kuhn. What sets the Evans trio apart from other similar groups was the interactive approach they took. The Evans Trio was unique and groundbreaking in that all 3 instruments were liberated from the traditional roles set for them by the previous generation of jazz musicians.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Blues for an African FriendTony ScottSung Heroes1959
What Is This Thing Called LoveBill EvansPortrait in Jazz1959
Autumn LeavesBill EvansPortrait in Jazz1959
So WhatSteve Kuhn1960
Free JazzOrnette ColemanFree Jazz1960
Sweet and LovelyBill EvansExplorations1961

Scott LaFaro - Episode 4

I call this podcast “A Day in the Life of Scott Lafaro.” The recordings on this podcast are from the Live at the Village Vanguard sessions from late June 1961. These recordings are some of the most celebrated live jazz recordings ever made. One can listen with bittersweet amazement at the level of performance while knowing that LaFaro’s life would end a week later.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Alice in WonderlandBill EvansLive at the Village Vanguard1961
Detour AheadBill EvansLive at the Village Vanguard1961
Gloria's StepBill EvansLive at the Village Vanguard1961
SolarBill EvansLive at the Village Vanguard1961
Waltz for DebbieBill EvansLive at the Village Vanguard1961

Stan Getz


stan-getz-nyc-[stg01]-1949Stan Getz has often been associated with the west coast cool sound, but he was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1927, and raised in the East Bronx. His main influences on the tenor sax were Lester Young and Tex Beneke and later alto saxophonist Charlie Parker. His early professional career brought him to California in 1945 where he was hired by Stan Kenton to play in his orchestra. Kenton enjoyed great popularity and worked with Bob Hope on his popular radio show. Getz left Kenton after a year and then performed with Jimmy Dorsey and later Benny Goodman. As the big band era was coming to a close Getz settled back on the east coast and became part of the bebop scene in New York.

Stan Getz - Episode 1

Savoy Records signed Stan to lead a recording session in 1946. For his first job as a leader, he formed a "Swing-Bop Quartet" and recorded four tunes with pianist Hank Jones, bassist Curly Russell and drummer Max Roach. The titles were: "Opus De Bop," "Running Water," "Don't Worry 'Bout Me," and "And The Angels Swing."
CompositionArtistYear
Lester Leaps inLester Young/Count Basie1939
KokoCharlie Parker1945
AlwaysStan Getz/Kai Winding1945
Opus de BopStan Getz Quartet1946
And the Angels SwingStan Getz Quartet1946

Stan Getz - Episode 2

In late 1946 Stan was playing with a group of young, like-minded saxophone players in L.A., all influenced strongly by Lester Young. They were: Herb Steward, Zoot Sims and Jimmy Giuffre. Ralph Burns, the staff arranger for Woody Herman's new bop-based band, came to hear them playing with a local band and was so impressed that he recommended that Herman hire them for his band. The group was to be known as Herman's Second Herd. Between December 22 and 31, 1947, this band recorded fourteen songs, releasing eleven of them. Five of these eleven became hit singles: "I've Got News For You", "Keen and Peachy", "The Goof and I", "Four Brothers" (named after the saxophone players of Stan Getz, Serge Chaloff, Zoot Sims and Herb Steward) and "Summer Sequence." All of Stan's influences are at play in his work by now: notably Lester Young, Charlie Parker, and Dexter Gordon.
CompositionArtistYear
Four BrothersStan Getz/Woody Herman1947
Early AutumnStan Getz/Woody Herman1948
Early Autumn (Live)Stan Getz/Woody Herman1949
Keeper of the FlameStan Getz/Woody Herman1948
Pennies From HeavenStan Getz/Al Haig1949

Stan Getz - Episode 3

CompositionArtistAlbumYear
WeeStan Getz/Dizzy GillespieDizzy Gillespie All-Stars1956
Parker 51Stan GetzLive at Storyville Vol 1-21951
Moonlight in VermontStan Getz/Johnny SmithJohnny Smith Quintet1952
Stella By StarlightStan GetzStan Getz Plays1952
It Don’t Mean a ThingStan Getz/Dizzy GillespieDiz and Getz1953
Little PonyStan Getz/Count BasieLive at Birdland1954
ShineStan GetzWest Coast Jazz1955
Dark EyesStan Getz/Dizzy GilliespieDizzy Gillespie All-Stars1956

Stan Getz - Episode 4

Getz lived in Europe in the late 1950’s and moved back to the states in 1960 and began a new period of creativity. He recorded one of his best albums, Focus, with arrangements by Eddie Sauter in 1961. Sauter provided the lush string backgrounds and no written music for him; Getz improvised over all of the arrangements. In 1962 Stan met guitarist Charlie Byrd who had recently returned from a trip to Brazil and brought back tapes of a jazz-samba hybrid called bossa nova. Getz was immediately interested in the sound and asked producer Creed Taylor to set up a recording session, which was eventually released as Jazz Samba in 1962. The record was a hit and prompted a follow up album released in 1964 entitled Getz/Gilberto that contained the Grammy winning track, “The Girl From Ipanema.”
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
I’m LateStan GetzFocus1961
HerStan GetzFocus1961
DesafinadoStan GetzJazz Samba1962
The Girl From IpanemaStan GetzGetz/Gilberto1964

JJ Johnson


jjjohnson 2Arguably the greatest bebop/hard bop trombonist post 1945, J.J. Johnson’s work defied both musicians’ and the public’s perception that the slide trombone could not keep up in modern jazz (bebop). Gifted as a composer and arranger Johnson had a long career as both a performer, bandleader, and composer.

JJ Johnson - Episode 1

On this show I play recordings of 4 important trombonists that influenced him as well as some of Johnson’s earliest recordings.
CompositionArtistYear
A Night in TunisiaJJ and Kai1956
I'm Getting SentimentalTommy Dorsey Orchestracirca 1936
LoverJack Teagarden (air check) w/Louis Armstrongcirca 1950
My Gal SalFred Beckett---Harlan Leonard Rockets1940
Fan ItBill Harris/Woody Herman1946
Lester LeapsNorman Granz Jazz at the Philharmonic1944
I Mean YouColeman Hawkins Esquire All-Stars1946

JJ Johnson - Episode 2

By the late 1940’s J.J. was the preeminent trombonist in modern jazz. He recorded numerous times with his own group and a variety of others, including Charlie Parker and Miles Davis’s Nonet (Royal Roost Band). He also began to compose original material for his recordings.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
How Deep is the OceanCharlie ParkerDial Sessions1947
Jay JayJ.J. JohnsonJazz Quintets1948
BoneologyJ.J. JohnsonJazz Quintets1948
DeceptionMiles DavisBirth of the Cool1949
TurnpikeJ.J. JohnsonThe Eminent JJ Johnson v11953
Walkin'Miles Davis All StarsWalkin'1954

JJ Johnson - Episode 3

The recordings from this podcast comprise some of his some of his finest work from 1954 through 1957. In 1954 Johnson formed a group with trombonist Kai Winding: the "Jay and Kai Quintet." The trombone styles and personalities of the two musicians, although very different, blended so well that the group was a huge success both musically and commercially.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
It's All Right With MeJ.J. Johnson/Kai WindingJay and Kai1954
LamentJ.J. Johnson/Kai WindingJay and Kai1954
Coffee PotJ.J. JohnsonThe Eminent JJ Johnson V. 21955
Old Devil MoonJ.J. JohnsonThe Eminent JJ Johnson V. 21955
Night In TunisiaJ.J. Johnson/Kai WindingJay & Kai+6/J.J. in Person1956
Billie’s BounceStan Getz & J.J.At The Opera House [Live]1957
Wail MarchSonny RollinsVol. 21957

JJ Johnson - Episode 4

J.J. Johnson was also an important composer who wrote a number of works in the late 1950s that fall into a category referred to as 3rd Stream. You can hear the influence of many 20th century orchestral composers blended with jazz in these recordings. They are often overlooked works, but are rich in color, harmony, texture, and improvisation. In the late 1960s and early 1970s J.J. tried to break into television and motion picture sound scoring and enjoyed moderate success.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Poem for BrassJ.J. JohnsonThe Birth of the 3rd Stream1956
El Camino RealJ.J. JohnsonThe Brass Orchestra1996
AquariusJ.J. JohnsonJ.J. Inc.1960