Alto saxophonist/clarinetist/composer John La Porta is an almost unknown figure in jazz today, since he opted to pursue music in academia rather than on-stage or in clubs. In the 1950s, besides performing with Charlie Parker and Lennie Tristano, he played in the bands of Woody Herman and Charles Mingus, and recorded two albums for Fantasy: one unreleased, another long out-of-print, both now available on this beautifully remastered 1-CD (79+ min.) set. The style is Third Stream, that proto-Fusion genre where jazz of the bebop and cool varieties commingled with elements of modern and not-so-modern classical music. La Porta’s compositions use the forms of the baroque fugue and canon as basis for improvisations, not overlooking the blues ("Lucidity," "Two For One," a sly de-/re-construction of the standard "Perdido") and anticipating/paralleling the avant-garde (the Ornette Coleman-like miniatures "Triplets, You Say" and "Little Fantasy"). But don’t get the impression this is some theoretical, pedantic shotgun marriage of disparate styles and genres - aside from the imaginative, oft-brilliant compositional riches, this set is full of witty, heartfelt, invigorating soloing and genuine swing. La Porta has a rich alto sound that cross-pollinates elements of Lee Konitz and Cannonball Adderley = brainy + blues-tarted. (Ditto for his clarinet sound.) Cliché it may be, but it fits: academia’s gain was the jazz-world’s loss...but YOU've got another chance to dig Mr. La P's artistry.