Scott LaFaro Day

April 3, 1936 – July 6, 1961

Chart Of My Heart

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Double bassist Rocco Scott LaFaro was born April 3, 1936 in Livingston, New Jersey.

His family moved to Geneva in upstate New York when he was five.

LaFaro studied reeds in school and didn’t pick up the bass until he was 18, a string instrument being a requirement for music majors at Ithaca College where he attended.

Early in his sophomore year, he left college to tour with the Buddy Morrow big band. Soon after that, he settled in LA to try his luck in the scene there.

In LA, he was a much-in-demand rising star, playing with Chet Baker, Victor Feldman, Stan Kenton, Cal Tjader, and Benny Goodman.

He then teamed with pianist Bill Evans and later joined Ornette Coleman’s band.

By 1959 LaFaro had made a name for himself as one of the best young bassist and started working with pianist Bill Evans and drummer Paul Motian.

He became Charlie Haden’s replacement in Ornette Coleman’s band in January 1961.

In the summer of 1961 Scott LaFaro died in an automobile accident in Flint, New York two days after the Newport Jazz Festival where he accompanied Stan Getz.

His final recorded work can be heard on the albums “Sunday at the Village Vanguard” and “Waltz for Debby”, produced with the Bill Evans Trio just weeks before.

Here is a rare film clip of Scott La Faro playing on a 1958 telecast of the Stars of Jazz with the Richie Kamuca Quintet.


Richie Kamuca, tenor sax & leader
Frank Rosolino, trombone
Scott LaFaro, bass
Victor Feldman, piano
Stan Levey, drums


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