Birthday: Scott Lafaro

Rocco Scott LaFaro, in a career that lasted only six years, developed skills on the upright bass that few have been able to match.

Born 1936 in Newark, N.J., La Faro studied clarinet and tenor sax as a boy, but in college switched to bass. Before long he mastered the instrument, and he toured with trombonist Buddy Morrow and trumpeter Chet Baker.

LaFaro achieved fame in the Bill Evans Trio, which he joined in 1959 and which featured Paul Motian on drums. Tracks such as "Solar" (RealAudio excerpt), from the Village Vanguard sessions, highlight his ability to play high notes with surprising speed.

LaFaro also played opposite bassist Charlie Haden in alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman's experimental double quartet on Free Jazz.

LaFaro was killed in a car accident near his hometown of Geneva, N.Y., at age 25.

Other birthdays Monday: Jimmy McGriff, 64; Harold Vick, 1936–1987; and Eric Kloss, 51.