Theme And Variations

John LaPorta

Theme And Variations
  • CAT # FCD-24776-25

    1. Theme: Blues Chorale 2:26
    2. 1st Variation (Basso Profundo) 2:10
    3. 2nd Variation (Jazz Canon) 3:05
    4. 3rd Variation (Tribute To Bird) 1:52
    5. 4th Variation (Images) 3:54
    6. 5th Variation (Jazz Fugue) 1:40
    7. 6th Variation (From The Cool School) 2:39
    8. 7th Variation (Changing Times) 2:28
    9. 8th Variation (Two Brothers) 3:31
    10. 9th Variation (Lucidity) 3:10
    11. 10th Variation (Forward Motion) 1:15
    12. 11th Variation (Nuage) 3:29
    13. 12th Variation (Finale): Two For One 6:23
    14. Theme 2:26
    15. Concertina For Clarinet 3:44
    16. Nightly Vigil 1:27
    17. Perdido 5:50
    18. Triplets, You Say
    19. Small Blue Opus 5:14
    20. Little Fantasy
    21. Absentee 4:57
    22. Washday
    23. En Rapport 5:17
    24. Lou's Tune 1:39
    25. Ferme La Porta 4:54

Though relatively little known except among modern jazz cognoscenti and in jazz education circles (he was for 38 years on the Berklee College of Music's faculty), reedman/composer/arranger John La Porta boasts a most impressive--indeed, fascinating--résumé. Coming up during the big band era (most notably with Woody Herman's First Herd), La Porta was from the mid-1940s to the mid-'50s a major participant in the bebop, cool, and Third Stream movements. How many jazz players, after all, can claim to have been on a record-date front line with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, worked extensively with Lennie Tristano and Charles Mingus, and have been a featured soloist in a piece composed by Igor Stravinsky (1946's Ebony Concerto, for the Herman Orchestra)? Theme and Variations and Conceptions, the two LPs paired herein, were recorded for Fantasy between 1956 and 1958. The music, all of it with the exception of Juan Tizol's jam session perennial "Perdido" written by La Porta, melds his compositional interests in contemporary classical music, new views of the older fugal and canonical forms, and the rhythmically vital bebop idiom. These challenging, lovely, and surprise-filled pieces for ensembles ranging in size from duos to octets feature La Porta's alto saxophone and especially masterful clarinet, as well as a complement of superb, if highly underrated, players, including trumpeter Louis Mucci, baritone saxist George Barrow, and pianist Wally Cirillo.

with Louis Mucci, Sonny Russo, Larry Wilcox, George Barrow, Sol Schlinger, Wally Cirillo, Wendell Marshall, Clem DeRosa

Recorded between 1956 and 1958.

Find out more about John LaPorta

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