Andy LaVerne has had success on previous sessions with organist Gary Versace, but this time around the pianist chose to record the trio live at the Kitano in New York City. Because Versace started as a pianist (and still plays the instrument occasionally), he provides a good sense of balance with the leader while keeping a fluid bassline going on the pedals, backed by drummer Anthony Pinciotti. LaVerne's six originals are varied in texture. "Note Worthy" is an excellent opener, being a brisk bop cooker. "J. J." opens with a chant-like vamp, with a dark edge in a very deliberate setting, showcasing Versace at length as LaVerne frees himself from the vamp. "In a Turquoise Mood" is a bit unusual, beginning as a free-form piece with odd special effects on the organ and muted, vibrating piano strings, though once LaVerne takes the spotlight, it settles into a lyrical ballad format. "Joyous Lake" has a soulful edge, mixing in gospel in a relaxed setting. Adding a familiar song or two might have helped draw those unfamiliar with Andy LaVerne's work, but his longtime fans will be delighted with this remarkable live recording. Ken Dryden, Rovi
- January 27, 2009
- Laverne Andy
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