Andy LaVerne's True Colors is a 1987 meeting with old friend Jerry Bergonzi, with whom he has recorded on a number of occasions; rounding out the quartet are the outstanding bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Danny Gottlieb. The saxophonist sits out the trio numbers. One surprise is the dark arrangement of pop vocalist Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors"; another, the tense buildup of "The Song Is You," which disguises the piece rather well. LaVerne's offbeat rhythmic accents in "Night and Day," with Gottlieb's adept brushwork and Johnson's spacious bassline, keep it sounding fresh. The pianist's playful introduction to "If I Were a Bell" begins with a chime-like lick, then delves into a bit of down-home gospel before the rhythm section makes its entrance. Bergonzi plays (unaccredited) soprano sax on LaVerne's driving "Maximum Density," which was inspired by "Stella by Starlight." Another LaVerne original is the percolating "Cubic Zirconia," which is a hidden jewel. The saxophonist was quite at home with Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way" due to his several years playing with its composer, though LaVerne's conception of the piece is dramatically different, utilizing a rewritten bridge and changing the melody as well. Finally, Thelonious Monk's "Pannonica" is the leader's chance to showcase his immense talent in a solo setting.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden