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Scott LaFaro

Remembering Scotty

Producer Orrin Keepnews, Scott LaFaro, Bill Evans and Paul Motian (from left) make jazz history at the Village Vanguard in 1961

On the afternoon and evening of June 25, 1961, the Bill Evans Trio performed a pair of shows at New York’s Village Vanguard that, when subsequently released by Riverside Records, became essential components of any serious jazz library: Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby.

The albums, though not Evans’ first, firmly established the pianist as one of the certified geniuses of the genre and altered the notion of what a jazz piano trio was all about. But for many who’ve heard them, there is an element of melancholy permanently affixed to these sessions-one that extends beyond the music itself-as they represent the final official recorded statements of Scott LaFaro. Only 25 years old, LaFaro, one of the most innovative and promising double bassists on the scene during this fertile period in jazz, died in an automobile accident just 10 days after these landmark gigs.

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