Andy LaVerne & Dave Samuels: Between Earth & Mars
Far away from his visibility as a past member of the popular group Spyro Gyra, Samuels contributes a singular performance that reminds us that he is indeed one of the finest practitioners of his craft. LaVerne strives in this type of configuration as his style is strongly rooted in a deep sense of lyricism and an advanced harmonic knowledge. Anderson does enough to keep things buoyantly afloat to the point that a drummer just isn’t missed.
The piano and vibes combination is a real winner- of course Gary Burton and Chick Corea taught us that long ago- and LaVerne and Samuels have developed attractive arrangements that make the most of a smart mix of contemporary standards and originals. “Blue In Green” is especially arresting in this new form, taken a bit faster than the original (check out another fine duo performance of this one by Burton and Ralph Towner). The title cut, a LaVerne tune, is also a highpoint, sporting an intense solo from Samuels. It may have taken almost a decade for LaVerne and Samuels to create a follow-up to Fountainhead but it was well worth the wait.
Track Listing: Retrospect, Gardenia, On Green Dolphin Street, Tenderly, Blue in Green, Tri-Tones, Maiden Voyage, Between Earth & Mars, B.E. (68:30)
Personnel: Andy LaVerne- piano, Dave Samuels- vibes, Jay Anderson- bass
Record Label: SteepleChase Records