Like label mate Harold Danko, pianist Andy LaVerne possesses talent that should be commensurate with a much broader public awareness. One of sax legend Stan Getz’s favorite accompanists, LaVerne has built a sizable catalog for SteepleChase over the past two decades- some 18 strong- with Between Earth & Mars serving as a reunion with vibraphonist Dave Samuels. Also thrown into the mix is bassist Jay Anderson, who completes this rather atypical trio.
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.
Retrospect, Gardenia, On Green Dolphin Street, Tenderly, Blue in Green, Tri-Tones, Maiden Voyage, Between Earth & Mars, B.E. (68:30)
Andy LaVerne- piano, Dave Samuels- vibes, Jay Anderson- bass
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.