Andy LaVerne, Spot On, SteepleChase ***1/2

A quartet album - tenor sax, piano, double bass and drums. Pianist Andy LaVerne leads. Heroes McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea are suggested in some tune titles. Saxist Ben Solomon is very Wayne Shorter-like most clearly on 'Wistful Thinking.' New …

Published: 25 Feb 2024. Updated: 56 days.

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A quartet album - tenor sax, piano, double bass and drums. Pianist Andy LaVerne leads. Heroes McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea are suggested in some tune titles. Saxist Ben Solomon is very Wayne Shorter-like most clearly on 'Wistful Thinking.'

New Yorker LaVerne has a discography that goes back to 1976. A release last year found him on saxophonist Tim Lin's Empathy in a setting that included Billy Drummond. And while LaVerne has recorded for other labels, his work also goes back to the 1970s with Danish label SteepleChase where he continues that long relationship here.

Solomon's best soloing is on 'Bassline' where his approach on this pleasurable release differs and he starts edging more towards the Coltrane sound. On 'Solace' the sticks on cymbals sound of Jason Tiemann inspire thoughts of the stickmanship of Jeff Williams.

The bass player on Spot On is Mike Richmond who, like LaVerne, was on Stan Getz album Another World released in 1978. Richmond wrote gorgeous ballad 'Anna'. The Spot On album title itself owes its origins to when Richmond says ''that was spot on'' at the end of the LaVerne tune of the same name. Andy LaVerne, photo: via YouTube/MyMusic Masterclass

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Yes! Trio, Spring Sings, Jazz & People ***1/2

Alliterative optimism affirmatively speaking: More than five years whooshes by. Reason for such chin stroking is thinking of Groove du jour because the Yes (with an exclamation mark) Trio are back with a studio album succeeding their earlier work. …

Published: 24 Feb 2024. Updated: 57 days.

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Alliterative optimism affirmatively speaking: More than five years whooshes by. Reason for such chin stroking is thinking of Groove du jour because the Yes (with an exclamation mark) Trio are back with a studio album succeeding their earlier work. It's taken just under a couple of years since recording in April 2022 for the album to get released.

Recorded in a place called Malakoff in France, a short commute away from the centre of Paris to the studio, as for the playing principals they remain the same: firstly Ali Jackson - you may well recall from the drummer's work with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra; secondly, star pianist Aaron Goldberg - The Now transfixed us in 2014; and thirdly bassist Omer Avital who contributes tunes like our currently playlisted 'Sheikh Ali.'

On 'Shufflonzo' if you know Brit pianist Gabriel Latchin's work a bit then you will dig Goldberg here a lot. Standards this time are a sprightly take on Coleman and Leigh's 'The Best is yet to Come' and Irving Berlin's 'How Deep is the Ocean' begun by very brief solo drum work. Jackson's stately bossa 'Sanción' is great. While still preferring Groove du jour, nevertheless, this latest is not without its merits given how high the bar is set. Spring Sings at its best thrives the more languid it sounds. l-r: Omer Avital, Aaron Goldberg, Ali Jackson. Photo: press