Andy LaVerne Piano/Organ Trio Press Kit

Andy LaVerne Piano/Organ Trio

Andy LaVerne
Jazz pianist, composer, and arranger Andy LaVerne, born Dec. 4, 1947, in Brooklyn, NY, studied at The High School of Music & Art, Ithaca College, Juilliard, Berklee, the New England Conservatory, and took private lessons from pianists Jaki Byard, Richie Beirach, Don Freidman, and jazz piano icon Bill Evans. The list of musicians with whom Andy has worked reads like a Who’s Who in jazz: Frank Sinatra, Stan Getz, Woody Herman, Dizzy Gillespie, Chick Corea, Lionel Hampton, Michael Brecker, Elvin Jones, Miroslav Vitous, Lee Konitz, Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Stitt, Benny Golson, Eddie Gomez, Mel Lewis, Mel Torme, Dave Samuels, John Abercrombie, & numerous others. A prolific recording artist, his projects as a leader number 50+, among them is a quartet recording featuring trumpeter Randy Brecker, bassist George Mraz, and drummer Al Foster, Four Miles (Polygram), which reached the top ten on the Gavin Jazz Chart.

LaVerne’s lastest CD’s are, Epiphany (ClaveBop), a collection of his newest compositions, and Intuition (SteepleChase), a duo with saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi. Andy is also a prominent jazz educator, having released a series of instructional videos, Guide to Modern Jazz Piano, Vols. 1 &, 2, and Jazz Piano Standards (Homespun Tapes), featuring the Yamaha Disklavier, as well as the video, In Concert (Homespun), with John Abercrombie. He is the author of Handbook of Chord Substitutions, Tons of Runs (Ekay), The Music Of Andy LaVerne (SteepleChase Publications), and Bill Evans Compositions 19 Solo Piano Arrangements (Hal Leonard). Countdown To Giant Steps (Aebersold Jazz) is a two CD play-a-long with companion book, of which LaVerne served as player/producer & writer. Tunes You Thought You Knew (Aebersold Jazz) is a LaVerne play-a-long CD/book set. Secret of the Andes, a new Aebersold playalong is a collection of Andy LaVerne compositions.

Andy is a frequent contributor (since 1986) to Keyboard Magazine, and Piano Today Magazine. His articles have also appeared in Down Beat, Jazz Improv, Piano Quartely, Piano Stylist, Jazz and Keyboard Workshop, and JazzOne

Andy is the recipient of five Jazz Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and winner of the 2000 John Lennon Songwriting contest for his tune Shania. He has appeared at concerts, festivals, and clubs throughout the world, and has also given clinics and Masterclasses at universities, colleges, and conservatories around the world. Recently he has toured and recorded with legendary singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka. LaVerne is professor of Jazz Piano at The Hartt School - The University of Hartford, and is on the faculty of the Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops.

Gary Versace
Since basing himself in New York City in June of 2002, pianist, organist, and accordionist Gary Versace has quickly become one of the busiest and most versatile musicians on the scene, often featured in bands led by musicians such as Maria Schneider, John Abercrombie, Eliot Zigmund, Theo Bleckmann, Chris Potter, Brad Shepik, and many others. He currently co-leads a band with trumpeter Ingrid Jensen (featuring saxophonists Seamus Blake and Steve Wilson) whose first recording on Justin Time records, “Now As Then,” was released in May of 2003 and received 4 stars in Downbeat magazine.

Versace will be the subject of a feature article in the July 2004 issue of Keyboard magazine, and will record as a leader for SteepleChase records in the fall of 2004. Other recent recordings include a piano trio record for a Japanese label featuring Johannes Weidenmueller and Billy Drummond, and appearances as a sideman on recordings by composer/arranger Maria Schneider (, trumpeter Dave Scott with saxophonist Rich Perry (Steeplechase), guitarist Rez Abbasi featuring saxophonist David Liebman (Arabesque), guitarist Joel Harrison (ACT), drummer John Hollenbeck’s big band (Omnitone), and with Andy LaVerne’s piano/organ trio.

In January of 1999, Versace performed in a two-piano recital with Marian McPartland, and in April of 1999 appeared on her acclaimed National Public Radio program, “Piano Jazz.” McPartland has called him “...endlessly inventive... (Versace) really has an extraordinary talent.”
From 1993-2002, Versace was a tenured associate professor in the jazz department at the University of Oregon, and has a masters degree in jazz performance from the Eastman School of Music, as well as batchelors degrees in both classical piano performance and music education from the University of Connecticut. He remains an in-demand clinician at high schools and universities worldwide, and has recently worked with students at schools including the University of Michigan, the Drummers Collective in New York City, the University of Indiana, the Tavira Jazz International Jazz Workshop in Portugal, the University of Kansas, the Berkelee College of Music, the Eastman School of Music, and the Los Angeles Academy of Music.

Danny Gottlieb
Danny Gottlieb is one of the most popular drummers in jazz and contemporary music. While best known as the drummer in the original Pat Metheny Group, Danny, during the past 25 years, has performed and recorded with some of the world’s greatest musicians. 

As a group member, he has worked with the following ensembles:  Jeff Berlin Trio; Gary Burton Quartet; Stan Getz Quintet; Pat Metheny Group; Gil Evans Orchestra; Bobby McFerrin Trio; Eddie Gomez Group; Michael Franks Band; John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra; Al DiMeola Project; Mike Stern Trio; Manhattan Jazz Quintet; Manhattan Jazz Orchestra: GRP Big Band; Vanguard Jazz Orchestra; Joe Beck Trio; Lew Soloff Food Group; George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band; WDR Big Band; NDR Big Band; Tip Toe Jazz Orchestra; Randy Brecker Quartet; Neenah Freelon Group; Blues Brothers Band; Booker T and the MG’s; Jazz is Dead; Pete Levin Trio; Ali Ryerson-Joe Beck Group; Joanne Brackeen Quartet; Bobby Rydell; Joe Farrell Quintet; Andy Laverne Quintet; Jacqui Naylor Band; Fritz Renold Friends; Haru Trio; Knut Varnes Group; Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra; Loren Schoenberg Big band; Airto and Flora Purim Group; Chuck Owen Jazz Surge; Jack Wilkins Group, and many more...

Danny has also performed or recorded with: Sting; David Byrne; Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea; Jim Hall; Miroslav Vitous;  Wayne Shorter; Larry Coryell; Kenny Barron; Rufus Reid; Branford Marsalis; Hiram Bullock; Bill Evans; Nana Vasconcellos; Trilok Gurtu; Dino Saluzzi; Mark Murphy; Chris Conner; Mike Abene; Gerry Mulligan; Clark Terry; Ernie Wilkins; Mike Wolff; Badal Roy; Hubert Laws; Mike Richmond; Jeff Richman; Russell Ferrante; Jimmy Haslip, and many more...

Danny appears on over 300 cd’s to date, including 5 Grammy winners. As a leader, Danny has 5 cd’s under his own name, 9 as co-leader of Elements, with Mark Egan; 2 as co-leader with Pete Levin, and 3 as co-leader of the Contempo trio, with Mark Soskin and Chip Jackson.

 A product of the musical education system, Danny earned BM in 1975 from the University of Miami. He has studied privately off and on with jazz legend Joe Morello for over 30 years. Danny has also studied with late studio guru Gary Chester, late Big band master Mel Lewis, Ed Soph, Bob Moses, and Jack deJohnette. Danny currently teaches as a guest Artist in residence at Rollins College, in Winter Park, Florida, and at the University of South Florida, in Tampa.

Danny has been on the covers of Modern Drummer, Down Beat, Drums and Percussion, and Drum Scene magazines.

Recent and upcoming projects include:
a new cd, “Gottlieb-Danielsson project” featuring Danny and keyboardist Per Danielsson, along with Beth Gottlieb and Tami Danielsson; 
appearances on cds released by Jeff Berlin; Joe Beck; Jeff Ciampa; Mark Egan; Jeff Laibson; Per Danielsson Trio; Andy Laverne; Mike Radi; George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band; Chuck Owen’s Jazz Surge; Corey Christianson Quartet

6 Instructional DVD’s from Mel Bay Company
2 Instructional DVD’s featuring lessons from Joe Morello


Andy LaVerne: Epiphany (Clavebop)

Keyboard Magazine

As if to underscore the fact that we at Keyboard are all about the music, Andy LaVerne has released a new CD. Andy’s disc, entitled Epiphany, is his second release on the Clavebop label. The disc offers a new take on the organ trio: In addition to Andy on piano and Danny Gottlieb on drums, organist Gary Versace rounds out the lineup. Andy’s article on Gary appeared on our July issue, and if you read it, you’ll recognize Gary’s unique B-3 approach instantly. Andy penned all the tunes, which are as adventurous as they are fun to listen to. The combination of these three virtuosos of the piano, B-3, and drums and the freedom and structure of Andy’s compositions is absolutely engaging.
By E.J. Iannelli

When considering these two discs by pianist Andy LaVerne, it’s easy to think that he has some kind of obsession with the revelatory experience. That may be so. But the similarity between the titles seems to be more coincidental than anything else. The first comes from the unusual inspiration to form a piano/organ (not one or the other, but both) trio, the second from a “slip of the tongue by a friend” that upon reflection took on additional meaning.

LaVerne has honed his chops over the years as a sideman to the big names—Sinatra, Getz, Woody Herman, Diz and Chick Corea are just a few of them—and as a bandleader as well, with dozens of records under his own name on the Concord and SteepleChase labels, among many others. Technique and expressivity, the yin and yang of music-making, are therefore here in abundance. His further abilities as a composer on both Epiphany and Process of Illumination, his second and third albums as leader for the Florida-based label ClaveBop, are manifest. Of the twenty-two songs to fill out this pair of albums, not one is a standard.

You’ll be pardoned for raising an eyebrow at the idea of a piano/organ trio like the one found on Epiphany. The arrangement seems destined to generate a lot of level crossfire, more or less canceling one another out. Yet in practice the two keyboard instruments are surprisingly complimentary and not at all competitive. Gary Versace maximizes the juicy punch of the organ, contrasting the sharper tinkle and shine of LaVerne on piano. “Creature Comforts,” one of the album’s many highlights, is also one of the best examples of how the two make excellent use of the similarities and differences of their respective instruments. Acting together, the cushiony and fluid notes of the organ buoy its clearer cousin. Acting in opposition, they threaten to envelop and sink it. This works just as well as on the slower ballads like “Tear Drop” as on the more spirited numbers like “This Just In.”
On “Antipathy,” Versace murmurs the bassline while LaVerne floats freely overhead with the melody; then LaVerne bows out, leaving Versace and drummer Danny Gottlieb alone to develop a groove out of rounded growls and broken whispers. It’s a veritable party when all three reunite. The overall effect is more remarkable than I was initially prepared to give this peculiar trio combination credit for. May it inspire others to do the same—though this will undoubtedly be a tough act to follow.