When it comes to the art of the trio, pianist Lynne Arriale is always in her element. Over the past quarter century she's released two riveting handfuls of dates exploring this configuration, only rarely moving afield as on her plainly-titled previous releaseSolo (Motema, 2012). Each one of those trio outings stands as its own distinctive work of art, unique in design and expression, yet all bear the hallmarks of a singular artistry, showcasing adept fingers and tremendous heart. This one is no different.
Joined by Dutchmen Jasper Somsen on bass and Jasper Van Hulten on drums, Arriale delivers six originals and three covers that highlight a kinship between all parties. The album opens on a take of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" that toys with the elements of surprise and expectation as it heats up. Arriale's compositions then come to prominence. "Appassionata" plays like a meeting between Chick Corea and Astor Piazzolla, merging Spanish-tinged soul and Argentinian allure; "Finding Home" is a beacon of solace, providing comfort as it it glides along on Van Hulten's grooves; "Give Us These Days," taking name and tone from poet Jim Schley's Devotional, gives pause for reflection, allowing the depth of his words to enter the realm of musical spirits; and the album's centerpiece"Slightly Off-Center"visits the blues as it stands on a tilting axis.
The second half of this date works a more ruminative arc in its initial unfolding, as Arriale's "Another Sky" and the immortal "Let It Be" both ponder in muted tones. Then she emotionally counters with the penultimate "Over And Out," a number that hits like a jolt of adrenaline and puts her most audacious and vivacious traits in the spotlight, before returning to quieter realms for the album closera touching trip through Tom Waits' "Take It With Me" fronted by guest vocalist Kate McGarry.
As with every move in her celebrated career, Lynne Arriale remains both readily identifiable in her different pursuits and impossible to pin down in specific character. Whether given to introspection or taken by extroversion, she remains a force of nature.
Woodstock; Apassionata; Finding Home; Give Us These Days; Slightly Off-Center; Another Sky; Let It Be; Over And Out; Take It With Me.
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