Andy LaVerne

Natural Living

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This duo date marks the first occasion during which Andy LaVerne and John Abercrombie played together, so with the impressive results it isn't surprising to learn that they would get together again in the studio. The give and take between the pianist and guitarist is at the high level of the Bill Evans-Jim Hall sessions. An inventive interpretation of "Sweet and Lovely" starts things off at a high level. They skim the surface of "All the Things You Are" by adding some interesting re-harmonization, while "When You Wish Upon a Star" has a rhapsodic introduction by LaVerne and wonderful comping by each player for his partner's solo. The influence of Bill Evans upon LaVerne's playing during "Stella by Starlight." Both men also contributed original tunes to the date. LaVerne's "Natural Living" is a hard to predict bossa nova with Abercrombie on acoustic guitar, while the pianist's "Archetypal Schemata" and Abercrombie's "John's Waltz" are post-bop masterpieces. Their one collaboration seems to be a joint improvisation, with Abercrombie on guitar synthesizer. This is an excellent all around release.

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