has proven himself over a three-decade stretch to be one of Steeplechase's most dependable artists. The veteran pianist is also a prolific composer, estimating that he had written 1,140 compositions between the early '90s and the time of this 2005 solo session. This is hardly his first solo recording for the label, as he recorded brilliant solo tributes to Bud Powell
(In the Mood for a Classic
) and Tadd Dameron
) prior to the making of this CD. But this project involved 16 originals, all new to the listener, so there is little familiar ground for his audience, aside from being familiar with his playing. The lyrical influence of Bill Evans
is often present, though LaVerne
is not an overt clone but a disciple of Evans
' approach to piano. The performances, all recorded in one session with most of them being first takes, will be of interest to his longtime fans, though there is no explanation within the liner notes of the background behind any of the song titles themselves. This is rewarding post-bop piano at its best and it will interesting to see which pieces LaVerne
revisits with additional musicians on hand in the future.