148

Andy LaVerne: Intelligent Design

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Andy LaVerne: Intelligent Design Certainly not your household name by any stretch of the imagination, pianist Andy LaVerne is nonetheless a particularly adept pianist who has worked with many jazz legends over the years including Stan Getz, Frank Sinatra, Michael Brecker and Lionel Hampton. He's also a respected educator and has been largely documented on almost forty dates as a leader for the Danish SteepleChase imprint, including Intelligent Design.

It is an out-of-the-ordinary ensemble that LaVerne assembles for the date at hand, although this particular trio has one previous album under its belt, recorded for another label. In hindsight, it's surprising that the piano and organ format has been so rarely utilized in jazz because it makes so much sense. The B3 is able to provide a bass line and a unique textural counterpoint that can complement as well as step forward. Seeing that Gary Versace is an accomplished pianist as well as a B3 practitioner, he makes the perfect foil for LaVerne because he knows how not to get in the way when Andy's up front and his own improvisations are highly musical statements that transcend the instrument itself.

A unique group make-up or concept itself does not alone make for a great album and, had LaVerne decided to go for standards or a "grits and gravy approach, it might have actually been the downfall for this set. Instead, it's Andy's superb originals that supply the fodder for this most rewarding collection. The lively bop of "Note Worthy possesses a melody that vaguely sounds familiar, but speaks in its own distinct manner. By contrast, a piece like "Tsunami has more of a through-composed flavor to it, floating and brooding with a darker sense of drama. Somewhere in between is the chipper "Upside, a good primer on how important drummer Danny Gottlieb's musical contributions are to the overall success of this venture.

Really one of the most welcomed surprises of the season, Intelligent Design lives up to its name as one of LaVerne's best efforts thus far and one of the finest jazz releases of the year.


Track Listing: Short Story; Ultra Sound; Note Worthy; Upside; Remembrance; Ambrosia; Tsunami; Can Your Glue Do This?; Intelligent Design.

Personnel: Andy La Verne: piano; Gary Versace: B3 organ; Danny Gottlieb: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: SteepleChase Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Today" CD/LP/Track Review Today
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 10, 2016
Read "A Woman's Work..." CD/LP/Track Review A Woman's Work...
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "Time Never Pauses" CD/LP/Track Review Time Never Pauses
by Budd Kopman
Published: April 10, 2016
Read "Tomorrow" CD/LP/Track Review Tomorrow
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 7, 2016
Read "Altadena" CD/LP/Track Review Altadena
by Mark F. Turner
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "Fourtune" CD/LP/Track Review Fourtune
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!