Geneva, a town of 13,000 in New York State’s Finger Lakes district, is the home town of Scott LaFaro. The brilliant bassist of the Bill Evans Trio influenced the development of jazz bass playing, and the town is keeping his memory alive. He died near Geneva in an auto accident in 1961. Thanks to Rifftides readers Frank Roellinger and Svetlana Ilyicheva for alerting us that last Thursday, Geneva honored LaFaro on his 78th birthday by proclaiming April 3rd its first annual Scott LaFaro Day. On Friday, the town’s monthly Geneva Night Out celebration included a concert by a quartet performing LaFaro compositions, and the bassist’s recordings playing at a book store called Stomping Grounds. Jim Meaney, the coordinator of Geneva Night Out, said,
LaFaro was a revolutionary and singular musician, but his contributions to the music world aren’t widely known to many Geneva residents. This effort aims to give recognition to LaFaro’s short but stellar career, while creating a platform for future jazz tribute concerts, festivals, and events in Geneva that will honor LaFaro’s legacy. In addition, the town renamed a street Scott LaFaro Drive.
Here is one reason Geneva finds LaFaro worth honoring—the bassist with Bill Evans and Paul Motian playing his most famous composition, “Jade Visions” from Sunday at the Village Vanguard.
For details about Geneva’s LaFaro day, go here. For an extensive Rifftides appreciation of LaFaro, analysis of his importance and rare videos, go here.
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