Archive | April 2016

Happy Birthday, Scotty – Take 2

Conde Nast TagID: cncartoons025278.jpg/Photo via Conde Nast

Listening to the Bill Evans Trio, live at the Village Vanguard, 1961.

In a classic New Yorker article from August, 2001, jazz critic and author Adam Gopnik describes that Sunday afternoon nearly 55 years ago:

“. . . (that) summer, on June 25, 1961, three young jazz musicians – the piano player Bill Evans, the bass player Scott LaFaro, and the drummer Paul Motian – went down to a New York basement, smoked, yawned, joked a bit, and got to work.”

2 albums, Life at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debbie, form the trio’s output from 5 sets played that Sunday, two and a half hours of music that you can sample here:$%7B0%7D and$%7B0%7D

About the music and the venue of that day, Gopnik says:

“It is art that puts a time in place . . . (t)he emotions it summons belong to the room they were made in, and the city outside the room when they were made. Not a timeless experience of a general emotion but a permanent experience of a particular moment . . .. The gift the record gives us is a reminder that the big sludgy river of time exists first as moments. It gives us back our afternoons.”

Two weeks after the trio made these historic recordings, on July 6, 1961, the bass player Scott LaFaro, driving to his parents home in upstate New York, skidded, hit a tree, and died instantly. He was 25 at the time and already recognized as a legend and innovator on his instrument.

Scott LaFaro would be 80 today – April 3rd his birthday.  Happy birthday, Scotty

Reference Cited
Gopnik, Adam. jazz’s perfect afternoon, forty years later. August 13, 2001. THE NEW YORKER.

This art is paid for and used under Non-Exclusive license agreement with Condé Nast.
Cartoonist: Lee Lorenz, The New Yorker Collection
Issue Publication Date 11/15/1969
The Cartoon Bank TCB-84966, Image ID

© Michael C. Simonelli,, 2016