Least likely titles at the Tower listening post: "Come Shmooze with MeLynne Arriale's Tribute to Ol' Blue Eyes." "Arriale Plays DeadThe Music of Jerry Garcia."
Lynne Arriale does not look for the easy way out. Her piano technique would allow her to crank out "songbook" CD's that could easily compete with all the others. Instead she selects tunes her trio can do something with. They slow "Evidence" ("Just You, Just Me" if you're keeping score at home) down to a slow burn and shift the harmonies around to get the piece moving. When they're on the verge of lapsing into a rut they pick up the tempo and build tension by tossing rhythms around. The sum of her selections adds up to a balanced, focused, in-depth program, whether it's live or Memorex. In this case it's live, and it's Arriale's best CD yet for all the right reasons: the feeling is there because she feeds off the energy of the audience; she continues to evolve as a pianist and improvisor; and she is backed by Jay Anderson who sounds like her most provocative bassist so far. Arriale seems headed in the direction of Thelonious Monk as a pianistmaybe in part it's the presence of the two Monk tunesher playing seems more concise and pointed than before. Drummer Steve Davis adds to the Monkish flavor with his angular stop-start arrangement on "Seven Steps to Heaven," a piece that features a continual piano-drum dialog. Still, those dreamy ballads with the singing right hand are my favorite Arriale. And there is plenty of that lovely singing here. I've been asleep on Anderson. The thing that woke me up was his growling insistence and Richard Davis-like note bending on "Think of One."
Alone Together (Dietz-Schwartz) Evidence (Monk) With Words Unspoken (Arriale) Seven Steps to Heaven (Davis-Feldman) Think of One (Monk) Estate (Martino-Brighetti) Calypso (Arriale) An Affair to Remember (Adamson-McCarey-Warren)
Lynne Arriale-piano Jay Anderson-bass Steve Davis-drums