Melodic intelligence and inner exploration are at the core of any Lynne Arriale recording. Chimes of Freedom is no exception. It does, however, have many moments which are exceptional. Once again featuring bassist Jasper Somsen and drummer E. J. Strickland, the record weighs in at a nourishing forty-five minutes of mood enhancement. Seven Arriale originals are the backbone of this ten-song project. Vocalist K. J. Denhert joins the ensemble for the final two tracks.
The trio opens by leading listeners through the familiar grace of the somber yet quietly hopeful "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child." Arriale quickly spins in another direction with the first of seven consecutive originals, a brisk "Journey" fostered by a tight groove and a spirited tempo. Arriale's signature gliding fingers, now at the fore, indeed seamlessly glide into "The Dreamers." The mood is altered once again with this mesmerizingly elegant tune which weaves through changes in a manner perhaps more like floating through them. As melody is a crucial element to Arriale and her fan base, one may find "3 Million Steps" to be among the most important pieces on the record. It is a song which splendidly represents Arriale's distinctive sound and approach. Somsen's thoughtful bass solo is then a highlight as the trio aligns with a connective unity of "Hope," embraced with calmly joyous interaction.
Picking up the pace with a piano run, Arriale has Somsen and Strickland sprinting alongside her in perfect harmony in "The Whole Truth." Throughout the record Arriale's storytelling abilities are in abundance. "Lady Liberty" demonstrates fully her heartfelt caressing of every note. Gently, but with deep emotion, her fingers sing out with her unique warmth and charismatic tone. The ever-changing and smoothly-transitioned ride becomes energetic and strident as Strickland inserts his voice with controlled exuberance in "Reunion." This tune vividly displays the fiery enthusiasm, fierce undertones, and emotional investment with which Arriale has become synonymous.
Denhert then sings Bob Dylan's "Chimes of Freedom." The title track is given a form of salient expressionism which is both respectful and understanding of Dylan's intent. The trio deftly tells the story significantly through their nuanced instrumentation. The final chapter is a melancholy take on Paul Simon's "American Tune." While Denhert laments Simon's verbiage, the trio paints an ostensibly clear visionary picture of the everyman tale.
Lynne Arriale has a gifted touch and authenticity which she shares every time she sits down at the piano. She can be heard as a bedtime story or as a savvy instrumentalist. As connected as she is to the piano and the melody, she is equally aligned with her bandmates. Her significant and innate melodic investment is shaped and broadened by her ability to communicate and process together as a unit. This is a true blend of arrangements, storytelling, and improvisation. It is a collective artform presented here with sincerity and sophistication.
Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child; Journey; The Dreamers; 3 Million Steps; Hope; The Whole Truth; Lady Liberty; Reunion; Chimes of
Freedom; American Tune.
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