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Lynne Arriale has developed a reputation for being an intelligently harmonic and effortlessly lyrical pianist, orbiting in the same rarified sphere as Fred Hersch, Alan Broadbent, and the late Tommy Flanagan. Ms. Arriale has maintained a stably performing trio for the past number of years, accruing many recordings to her credit, including— Melody , Inspiration , and Live At the Montreux Jazz Festival . Her new recording, Arise, was in part inspired by the September 11, 2001 tragedy and that inspiration is reflected in the music.
Classic Lynne Arriale is colored with pastels in dark and pale shades. She is at once impressionistic and expressionistic. On Arise, she adopts more primary colors, her playing streaked with a muscular tenderness. Her playing does not betray anger but fortitude and determination to endure and prevail. There is nothing abstract or pale about Arise. Lynne Arriale has a clear vision and executes it deftly.
She opens the disc with Brazilian Egberto Gismonti’s "Frévo," propelling it with her left hand. Staccato statements punctuate Arriale's creative urgency. Following that, she makes perhaps her boldest statements in her minor blues deconstruction of The Guess Who's anthem "American Woman." She deftly states the theme and constructs the remainder of piece much as Thelonious Monk did in "Blue Monk." This is fearless jazz arrangement, peppered with courage, grace, and panache. The title track and "The Fallen" both Arriale originals are a poignant statement of deep regret and loss, buoyed by the hope and renewal of change. The remaining two non-original compositions, "Lean On Me" and "Kum Ba Ya" both receive premiere treatments.
Ms. Arriale’s band is tight as a drum and fully engaged in her vision. Arise is both a significant addition to Ms. Arriale’s catalog and that of jazz in general. Highly recommended.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.