John LaPorta on Apple Music

John LaPorta

At one point in time, John LaPorta looked like he was going to be one of the leading clarinetists in modern jazz. His cool tone and very advanced style (influenced by Lennie Tristano) seemed to be making him the Lee Konitz of the clarinet. He had played with the big bands of Bob Chester (1942-1944) and Woody Herman (1944-1946), but more importantly, he recorded with Lennie Tristano in 1947. LaPorta studied with Tristano and six years later was part of the Jazz Composers' Workshop with Charles Mingus and Teo Macero, seeking to bring elements of classical music into jazz. The clarinetist recorded with Mingus in 1954 before the bassist changed directions and LaPorta led sessions for Debut, Fantasy, and Everest during 1954-1958. However, John LaPorta chose to pursue a career as a teacher (at the Manhattan School of Music and Berklee) and performed infrequently after his exodus to acedemics. LaPorta did return to recording in 1999 for a session that was released under the title Life Cycle. His 1956 LP, Conceptions, was re-issued by Fantasy with over a dozen unreleased tracks as Themes and Variations.

A legend of the jazz vanguard and an influence on countless students during his 40 year teaching tenure, John LaPorta passed away in May of 2004 at the age of 84. ~ Scott Yanow

    Philadelphia, PA
  • BORN
    Apr 1, 1920

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