Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

Andy Laverne/Dave Samuels: Between Earth and Mars

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

There’s no doubting Andy LaVerne’s technical skill on the piano and his impressive credentials, which include fusion, big band, straightahead and some impressive solo works. Sometimes, though, you wish for a melodic moment, a little swing, some joy. It’s not overwhelmingly apparent on this trio led by LaVerne and vibist Dave Samuels, who distinguished himself with Spyro Gyra, and bassist Jay Anderson. There’s no doubting the improvisational skills throughout the nine works, but instead of coalescing into a memorable session, the proceedings suffer from far too many tangents and not nearly enough teamwork. There are moments: Samuels’ “Tri-Tones” and Gary Peacock’s “B.E.” build slowly to satisfying conclusions, and LaVerne’s title song is propelled by Samuels’ pounding strokes. But too often concepts are left undeveloped and wandering, even tunes by Bill Evans (“Blue and Green”), Herbie Hancock (“Maiden Voyage”) and the time-tested, Miles-defined “On Green Dolphin Street.”

LaVerne takes a chance here by fronting a piano-vibes-bass trio. In this case, however, the added rhythmic presence would have worked wonders.