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Arthur Lipner: Two Hands, One Heart

Roger Farbey By

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Arthur Lipner is one of the most prolific vibraphone and marimba players working on the New York scene. His musical influences are eclectic having performed with Tuvan Throat Singers from Russia, The Saakumu Dance Company of Ghana, in Chiapas Mexico's "Marimba Park," at the Royal Palace in Marrakesh, in the mountains of Norway on an ice xylophone and many other locations. Brazil has also played a big part in his life, Lipner having toured there repeatedly and premiering the concerto "Mallet Fantasia" he co-wrote with Jens Wendelboe in Rio de Janeiro.

Two Hands, One Heart is a double album, one CD comprising an acoustic set, its counterpart an electric one. This is also a 'best of' album and the 24 tracks are gleaned from Lipner's numerous recordings. His first solo project was entitled In Any Language released way back in 1991. Most of the numbers are Lipner originals (he's composed around 100) but there are also a handful of songs written by others including a lively version of Jimmy Giuffre's "Four Brothers."

The acoustic set boasts some very strong tunes including "Rio," an elegant paean to the Brazilian city and "This Is What The Silence Sounds Like," an excursion for both marimba and vibes. An affecting reading of Don McLean's "Vincent" is followed by "Cool Desert Rondo" which amply demonstrates, in addition to his obvious virtuosity, Lipner's not inconsiderable ability as a composer.

Of the electric disc, the tunes never stray into heavier jazz rock, but remain nearer to Yellowjackets / Rippingtons fusion territory. The music here is convincingly skilful and again benefits from imaginative and lithe arrangements such as is heard on "Lime Juice" or the sultry and aptly titled "Mood Vibe." There are occasional musical diversions such as use of steel pans on the sunny "Mango Man" and more Latin American allusions with "Blue Tango" and "Brasil's Hold On Me." This is indeed a rewarding and satisfying "best of" compilation by a fine and hugely talented instrumentalist.

Track Listing: CD 1 (Acoustic) Crystal Mallet; Rio; This Is What The Silence Sounds Like; Transfusion; Morning Song; SambaDharma; Heartsong; Vincent ; Cool Desert Rondo; Kayak; Pramantha; Fortune Teller.

CD 2 (Electric) Lime Juice; Waverider; Let's Stay Together; Hymn For G.P.; Brasil's Hold On Me; Four Brothers; Mood Vibe; Blue Tango; Snakey; Slo Burn 68; Mango Man; Some Uptown Hip-Hop.

Personnel: CD1: Arthur Lipner: vibraphone, marimba; Jack DeSalvo: classical guitar; Vic Juris: acoustic guitar; Bob Rodriguez, Fred Hersch: piano; Bruce Williamson: clarinet; Todd Urban, Harvie S, Mike LaValle: bass; Jon Berger, Glen Velez, Nanny Assis, Ney Rosauro: percussion; David Darling: cello; Joe Meo: flute.

CD2: Arthur Lipner: vibraphone, marimba, steel drums; Chip Gawle: trumpet; Bruce Williamson: soprano saxophone, Bob Mintzer: tenor saxophone; keyboards; Nick Bariluk: keyboards; Adriano Souza: piano; Glenn Alexander, Jerome Harris, Vic Juris, Bill Bickford: guitar; Nelson Faria, Manny Moreira: acoustic guitar; Wycliffe Gordon: trombone, vocals; Gary Schreiner: harmonica; David Dunaway, David Finck, Mike LaValle, Tom Barney, Randy Landau, Paul Adamy: bass; Tommy Igoe, Jim Mola, Warren Odze, Joel Rosenblatt, Mauricio Zotarelli: drums; Ze Luis Oliveira, Vanderlei Pereira: percussion; Nancy Assis: lead vocals, percussion; Joyce Stovall: vocals; Kathy Caprino, Vanessa Falabella: background vocals.

Title: Two Hands, One Heart | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Malletworks Media

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