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Arthur Lipner

Two Hands, One Heart: Best of Arthur Lipner





CD 1 (Acoustic)

Crystal Mallet


This Is What The Silence Sounds Like


Morning Song




Cool Desert Rondo



Fortune Teller.

CD 2 (Electric)

Lime Juice


Let's Stay Together

Hymn For G.P.

Brasil's Hold On Me

Four Brothers

Mood Vibe

Blue Tango


Slo Burn 68

Mango Man

Some Uptown Hip-Hop

Personnel: CD1: Arthur Lipner (vibraphone, marimba); Jack DeSalvo (classical guitar); Vic Juris (acoustic guitar); Bob Rodriguez, Fred Hersch (piano); Bruce Williamson (clarinet); Todd Urban, Harvie S, Mike LaValle (bass); Jon Berger, Glen Velez, Nanny Assis, Ney Rosauro (percussion); David Darling (cello); Joe Meo (flute)

CD2: Arthur Lipner (vibraphone, marimba, steel drums); Chip Gawle (trumpet); Bruce Williamson (soprano saxophone): Bob Mintzer (tenor saxophone; keyboards); Nick Bariluk (keyboards); Adriano Souza (piano); Glenn Alexander, Jerome Harris, Vic Juris, Bill Bickford (guitar); Nelson Faria, Manny Moreira (acoustic guitar); Wycliffe Gordon (trombone, vocals); Gary Schreiner (harmonica); David Dunaway, David Finck, Mike LaValle, Tom Barney, Randy Landau, Paul Adamy (bass); Tommy Igoe, Jim Mola, Warren Odze, Joel Rosenblatt, Mauricio Zotarelli (drums); Ze Luis Oliveira, Vanderlei Pereira (percussion); Nancy Assis (lead vocals, percussion); Joyce Stovall (vocals); Kathy Caprino, Vanessa Falabella (background vocals)


This twofer retrospective from the prolific and admired Arthur Lipner encapsulates many of his best qualities. The vibraphone and marimba player is a longtime fixture on the NY scene and his many sessions from – as he puts it with geographical whimsy – ‘Holland to Rio, NYC to my home studio’ reveal his strengths over the course of two discs which are rigorously demarcated ‘Acoustic’ and ‘Electric’.

He takes a solo approach on his own composition Crystal Mallet which evokes a sonically rippling landscape whilst his Brazilian-inspired ethos can be savoured in the uplifting, rhythmically vivacious Rio where he’s underpinned by Nelson Faria’s guitar. The more pensive and introspective aspect of his art is projected in This Is What the Silence Sounds Like which is subtly coloured and where the supportive ensemble is deft. He has a propensity for the ‘World vibe’ – often but by no means exclusively Latin American, as he has also absorbed much from African music – though it never swamps his own individuality.

Most of the tracks on the acoustic disc are his own pieces. An exception is Don McLean’s Vincent with pianist Freed Hersch which, with its teasing start, throws the listener off balance before asserting romantic and wistful affiliations. Lipner has a knack of crafting communicative and easy-going numbers, attractive tunes bathed in warm and wittily changing ensemble colours. Whether it’s just piano, solo guitar or a more varied ensemble of guitar, piano, bass and percussion, Lipner ensures that variety is accompanied by finesse.

The electric disc reprises these virtues but brings different instrumentation to the fore – the soprano sax of Bruce Williamson, for example on Lime Juice, and the tenor of Bob Mintzer on Hymn for GP. Wycliffe Gordon sings – though Kathy Caprino does so too - as well as playing trombone on Jimmy Guiffre’s Four Brothers, a perhaps unusual though in the event rather attractive recasting of the original. Perhaps, though, this disc is best summed up by the happy thematic ease, deft soloing and ensemble warmth of Slo Burn, another Lipner original, and a fine calling card for his art.

There are no notes as such, merely an introductory paragraph from the leader Lipner, Full personnel is printed on the gatefold card and six CD covers are reproduced along with the titles of the others from which this compilation derives – but there are no recording dates. Still, that’s a very minor point. The major one is the genial vitality of the music.

Jonathan Woolf



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