The Troy Street Observer

Remembering John LaPorta

Teacher, composer, and outstanding reed player John LaPorta died in Sarasota, Florida, on May 12, 2004.

Photo of John LaPorta
John LaPorta. Photo Berklee College of Music.

John LaPorta had already lived a whole life in jazz before he arrived at Berklee in 1962. He was on Bob Chester’s big band 1942-44, and with Woody Herman’s First Herd 1944-46. In 1947 he studied and played with Lennie Tristano, and in 1953 took part in the Jazz Composers Workshop sessions with Teo Macero and Charles Mingus, who raved about his talent with the clarinet. His 1950s recordings on the Debut and Fantasy labels showcased his talents as composer, arranger, clarinetist, and saxophonist.

LaPorta was also deeply involved in classical music, performing with Stokowski and Bernstein. He was part of the third stream movement at its start in 1957, with Gunther Schuller, George Russell, and Jimmy Guiffre.

Continue Reading