Bassist Marc Johnson and singer/pianist/composer Eliane Elias will perform at the 5th Annual Scott LaFaro Day Celebration Concert at the Smith Opera House on April 7. Photo Credit: Roy Borghouts Fotografie
The Smith Center for the Arts presents the 5th Annual Scott LaFaro Day Celebration Concert: Marc Johnson Invites Eliane Elias on Saturday, April 7 at 8 p.m. at the Smith Opera House at 82 Seneca St., Geneva.
Scott LaFaro grew up in Geneva and went on to become one of the most influential bassists in the history of jazz as a member of the Bill Evans Trio before his untimely death at the age of 25 in a 1961 automobile accident.
This year’s celebration features Marc Johnson on double bass, joined by his wife, pianist and composer Eliane Elias. Appropriate to the concert, Johnson has been an outspoken admirer of Scott LaFaro’s playing throughout his career and was himself the bassist of legendary pianist Bill Evans’ last trio. He also joined Elias on her 2008 album, “Something For You,” which paid tribute to the music and influence of Bill Evans.
For her own part, multi Grammy-winning artist Elias is known for her distinctive and immediately recognizable musical style which blends her Brazilian roots, and her sensuous, alluring voice with her virtuosic instrumental jazz, classical and compositional skills. With 26 albums to date demonstrating her unique gifts as a pianist, singer, composer, arranger, and producer as well as melding her immense talents in jazz, pop, classical and Brazilian music, Eliane Elias is as Jazziz magazine has called her, “A citizen of the world” and “an artist beyond category.”
A third star of the night is Scott LaFaro’s own Prescott double bass, which Johnson will play for this year’s celebration concert. The instrument, beloved by LaFaro and a legend in its own right, unfortunately was with him the night of the automobile accident. Although the double bass suffered heavy damage in the ensuing fire, it was restored in the 1980s by Barrie Kolstein of Samuel Kolstein & Son, Ltd. in Long Island. Today, the instrument is kept at Ithaca College, LaFaro’s alma mater, both for study and for playing at special occasions.
Geneva’s celebration of LaFaro’ life and his music has included the permanent designation of a downtown street as Scott LaFaro Way and concerts featuring acclaimed regional and national jazz artists. Plans are in place to commission a statue of Scott LaFaro to be placed across from The Smith Opera House in Downtown Geneva.
Tickets for this reserved seating concert are $32 and $22 (plus service fees). There are also a limited number of VIP tickets for $50 (plus service fees), which include a meet and greet with the artists. Tickets are available at the Smith Box Office at 82 Seneca St., Geneva, 315-781-5483, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. They are also available online.
The Smith Center for the Arts is committed to providing and sustaining diverse arts and education enrichment opportunities for Finger Lakes residents and visitors, while maintaining its historic venue, the Smith Opera House.