John LaPorta, a veteran of Woody Herman's First Herd and Charles Mingus' cool period, was one of those rare musicians who felt completely at ease performing both composed (i.e. classical) and improvised music (jazz) at a time when these two forms of art were still completely segregated. As a result, in the first stages of his professional career he played with artists of considerable fame and status who were dedicated to widely divergent forms of music, such as Igor Stravinsky, Woody Herman, Lennie Tristano, Charlie Parker, Leopold Stokowski, Charles Mingus, Leonard Bernstein and Gunther Schuller.
This release contains John LaPortas complete Quintet, Quartet, Trio & Duo recordings, as leader, for Charles Mingus and Max Roachs Debut label - recorded between 1954 and 1957. This is the first time the master takes ever appear on CD. Not only that, Saxidental and twelve alternate takes included here have never been previously released on any format.
The two complete sessions that follow in LaPorta's discography as a leader have been included here as a bonus.
01. FLUID DRIVE (3:18)
02. RIGHT AROUND HOME (4:38)
03. THE OLD MANS TOUCH (2:53)
04. THE HECTIC LIFE (3:42)
05. QUARTO (3:26)
06. FRINGE AREA (3:36)
07. THREE MOODS: (11:56)
08. HARANGUE (0:43)
09. DONT BLAME ME (5:20)
10. TWO PARTY CAMPAIGN (0:47)
11. ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE (5:40)
12. CHANCE ACQUAINTANCE (1:09)
13. SAXIDENTAL (3:37)
14. FRINGE AREA [Alternate take] (2:51)
15. FLUID DRIVE [Alternate take] (3:33)
16. FLUID DRIVE [Alternate take 2] (3:22)
17. RIGHT AROUND HOME [Alternate take] (4:53)
18. THIS HECTIC LIFE [Alternate take] (3:50)
19. THE OLD MANS TOUCH [Alternate take] (3:05)
20. QUARTO [Alternate take] (4:51)
Total time: 76:18 min.
Tracks #13-20 Previously Unreleased.
01 ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE [Alternate take] (5:12)
02 BRIGHT-EYED BLUES [Alternate take] (3:30)
03 SAXIDENTAL [Alternate take - Incomplete] (2:10)
04 DONT BLAME ME [Alternate take] (4:10)
05 ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE [Alternate take 2] (5:13)
06 NIGHTLY VIGIL (1:29)
07 CONCERTINA FOR CLARINET (3:46) (*) Bonus Track
08 TRIPLETS, YOU SAY? (1:01) (*) Bonus Track
09 SMALL BLUE OPUS (5:15) (*) Bonus Track
10 LITTLE FANTASY (0:50) (*) Bonus Track
11 EN RAPPORT (5:19) (*) Bonus Track
12 WASH DAY (0:46) (*) Bonus Track
13 PERDIDO (7:34) (*) Bonus Track
14 LOUS TUNE (1:40) (*) Bonus Track
15 ABSENTEE (4:58) (*) Bonus Track
16 FERMÉ LA PORTA (4:54) (*) Bonus Track
17 DIRGE FOR DORSEY (5:48) (*) Bonus Track
18 BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA (4:12) (*) Bonus Track
19 DARN THAT DREAM (5:05) (*) Bonus Track
20 WRAP YOUR TROUBLES IN DREAMS (4:25) (*) Bonus Track
Total time: 77:26 min.
Tracks #1-5 Previously Unreleased.
CD 1, tracks #1-6 from the original 10" LP "The John LaPorta Quintet (Debut DLP 10).
CD 1, tracks #7-12 from the original 10" LP "Three Moods" (Debut DEB 122).
CD 2, tracks #6-16 from "Conceptions" (Fantasy LP3-228).
CD 2, tracks #17-20 from "The Clarinet Artistry Of John LaPorta" (Fantasy LP3-248).
CD 1 - tracks #1-6 & 14-20: John LaPorta (as, cl), Louis Mucci (tp), Wally Cirillo (p), Richard Carter (b) and Ed Shaughnessy (d). Recorded in New York, on March 9, 1954.
CD 1 - tracks #7-13 & CD 2 - tracks #1-5: John LaPorta (as, cl), Louis Mucci (tp), Barry Galbraith (g), Richard Carter (b) and Charlie Perry (d). Recorded in New York, April & June, 1955.
CD 2 - tracks #6-16: John LaPorta (as, cl), Louis Mucci (tp), Sonny Russo (as), Sol Schlinger (bs), Wally Cirillo (p), Wendell Marshall (b) and Clem DeRosa (d). Recorded in New York, June, 1956.
CD 2 - tracks #17-20: John LaPorta (as, cl), Jack Keller (p) and Clem DeRosa (d). Recorded in San Francisco, on January 30, 1957.
Born: April 1, 1920 in Philadelphia, PA
Died: May 12, 2004 in Sarasota, FL
Reedman, composer, arranger, educator
John LaPorta, a beloved music educator and veteran of Woody Herman's First Herd and Charles Mingus' cool period, died from complications of a stroke on May 12, 2004, in Sarasota, Florida. He was 84 years old.
LaPorta showed great promise as a reedman, particularly for his skills as a bebop and Third Stream clarinetist, but chose to sidestep into the educator's chair. One of his first professional gigs was with Bob Chester's swing band, beginning in 1942. In '44 he joined the Herman aggregation and remained for two years, making his own imprint on what became a classic big-band sound. His taste and technique were impeccable on alto and tenor saxes and clarinet.
LaPorta moved to New York City in 1946 and was hired by pianist Lennie Tristano at the nascence of the cool-jazz movement. His career in music education began in '48 at Brooklyn's Parkway Music Institute. He also gave private instruction as he pursued his M.A. at the Manhattan School of Music. The list of artists with whom he worked was extensive: Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Gunther Schuller, Herb Pomeroy, Billy Eckstine, Kenny Clarke, Lester Young, Max Roach, Hank Mobley, Bill Evans, Buddy Rich, Bill Harris, Fats Navarro, Oscar Pettiford, Helen Merrill, Neal Hefti, Johnny Mathis, and the big band Orange Then Blue. He was also impressive as a classical soloist, performing under Bernstein, Stravinsky, Stokowski and the Boston Pops.
LaPorta played with Charles Mingus for several years until the mid-1950s, appearing on classic Chazz sets like Jazzical Moods and Jazz Composers Workshop (both in 1954). The partnership was rewarding, and LaPorta made his first album as a leader for Mingus' Debut label in '54. The two men finally parted ways when Mingus began moving away from cool and Third Stream jazz into a hard-bop mode. The reedman cut three albums for Fantasy in the mid-50s and led his own group at the 1958 Newport festival.
Master's degree in hand, LaPorta joined the faculty of Berklee School of Music in 1963 and remained there for over thirty years until he retired to Florida. He wrote fifteen books on music education and over two hundred compositions, made some Music Minus One records, and assisted with Stan Kenton's jazz camps. In 1985 he returned to the recording studio to wax Alone Together (Powerhouse). His last album was Life Cycle (1999, Civil Defense).
In Florida LaPorta kept active, directing a high school band, performing with the Sarasota Jazz Club, and lecturing in the Inside Jazz" program. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from IAJE and the Satchmo Award from the Sarasota Jazz Club. His autobiography, Playing It By Ear, was published by Cadence Jazz Books. LaPorta had been asked to participate in a Tristano retrospective in L.A. later this year and had planned to donate his archives to the American Jazz Museum [...]
Todd S. Jenkins -All About Jazz