John LaPorta Theme and Variations
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- Released: October 29, 2002
- Originally Released: 2002
- Label: Fantasy
- 1.Theme: Blues Chorale
- 2.1st Variation - (Basso Profundo)
- 3.2nd Variation - (Jazz Canon)
- 4.3rd Variation - (Tribute To Bird)
- 5.4th Variation - (Images)
- 6.5th Variation - (Jazz Fugue)
- 7.6th Variation - (From The Cool School)
- 8.7th Variation - (Changing Times)
- 9.8th Variation - (Two Brothers)
- 10.9th Variation - (Lucidity)
- 11.10th Variation - (Forward Motion)
- 12.11th Variation - (Nuage)
- 13.12th Variation (Finale): Two For One
- 15.Concertina For Clarinet
- 16.Nightly Vigil
- 18.Triplets, You Say
- 19.Small Blue Opus
- 20.Little Fantasy
- 23.En Rapport
- 24.Lou's Tune
- 25.Ferme la Porta
2 LPs on 1 CD: THEME AND VARIATIONS (1956)/ CONCEPTIONS (1958).
Personnel: John La Porta (alto saxophone, clarinet); George Barrow (baritone saxophone); Larry Wilcox (tenor saxophone); George Barrow, Sol Schlinger (baritone saxophone); Louis Mucci (trumpet); Sonny Russo (trombone); Wally Cirillo (piano); Wendell Marshall (string bass); Clem DeRosa (drums).
Recorded at Fine Sound, New York, New York between 1956 & 1958. Originally released on Fantasy (3-228). Includes liner notes by John La Porta.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Personnel: John LaPorta (clarinet, alto saxophone); Larry Wilcox (tenor saxophone); Sol Schlinger, George Barrow (baritone saxophone); Louis Mucci (trumpet); Sonny Russo (trombone); Wally Cirillo (piano); Clem DeRosa (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Joe Tarantino.
Liner Note Author: John LaPorta.
Recording information: Fine Sound, New York, NY (06/04/1956-01/??/1958).
In a perfect world, John LaPorta would be much better known. But regrettably, many jazz enthusiasts are unaware of his work. After the '50s, he did little recording, and over the years much of his catalog has been out of print. But in 2002, Fantasy provided a 79-minute LaPorta CD titled Themes and Variations, which offers the contents of his 1956 LP, Conceptions, as well as 14 previously unreleased recordings from late 1957 and early 1958. On these selections (a total of 25), LaPorta has a variety of talented musicians to choose from -- the participants include trumpeter Louis Mucci, trombonist Sonny Russo, tenor saxophonist Larry Wilcox, pianist Wally Cirillo, bassist Wendell Marshall, drummer Clem DeRosa, and two baritone saxophonists: George Barrow and Sol Schlinger. LaPorta (who is heard on alto sax and clarinet) keeps things interesting by using different combinations of players on different songs; the listener doesn't know from one selection to the next whether LaPorta is going to lead a sextet, septet, quartet, or something else. But whoever LaPorta is featuring, the performances are relevant to the third stream movement as well as cool jazz (which was basically a laid-back approach to bebop). Third stream enthusiasts will respect LaPorta's classical-influenced arrangements, and cool jazz aficionados will appreciate his tasteful use of subtlety, restraint, and understatement. These performances are swinging, but not in an aggressive, forceful way -- in the '50s, LaPorta demonstrated that an improviser didn't have to play hard bop in order to swing. For those who have never experienced the pleasures of LaPorta's playing and arranging, Themes and Variations would be an excellent starting point. ~ Alex Henderson
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