Quietly and brilliantly the Lynne Arriale Trio has been defining the art of the piano trio. For nearly fifteen years, Arriale, bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Steve Davis have created smart, inventive jazz that has the capacity to wow audiences thanks to its expansive approach to tunes, virtuosic playing and sheer longevity. And, of course, it celebrates that rarein the jazz worldphenomenon of a group playing together for a long period of time. This album also celebrates the joy of jazz in a big, live setting. Recorded in Burghausen, Germany, the sound puts us squarely in a big hall with an audience that is both classically respectful and knowledgeably enthusiastic. These people respond with grace to the dazzling music made by these seasoned musicians.
And what diverse and intriguing music it is. Right from the start, Arriale celebrates the joy of tunes from all over the musical map. The trio immediately finds a groove in the old New Orleans tune "Iko Iko. The blues in the solo piano finds the colors in the drums and the rock-solid bottom and propulsive movement of the bass and a soul classic is both born and re-born. And here that hall sound is powerful in adding to the listening experience. It's intricately detailed and also large and all-encompassing. In choosing tunes like thisand later in the Beatles' "Come Together Arriale lets us know that she listens carefully.
Arriale also chooses smartly from the jazz canonthere are powerful and yet down-home takes on Victor Feldman's "Seven Steps to Heaven and Monk's "Bemsha Swing and a graceful reading of an Abdullah Ibrahim melody, "Mountain of the Night but she has also become a composer of great talent. Her "Home is a gorgeous drawing of the emotions connected to returning home and right after its lovely mood, the group sails into another Arriale tune, the smokingly danceable "Braziliana, which she aptly describes as a "joyful stomp. All of this music dazzles without ever being showy for its own sakethe passion of the playing and the joy of invention is a story shared with the audience.
Packaged with the audio disc is a DVD presentation of the same concert. Like the CD, it combines a sense of the largeness of the event with an on-stage notion of what it is for a jazz group to play together. "Iko Iko, for example, opens with a long shot of the hall and then draws us forward to the mechanics of the three playing together. Like the group, the sound and visual engineers care about telling a story.
Track Listing: Iko Iko; Alone Together (DVD only); Home; Braziliana; Arise; Come Together; Flamenco; Seven Steps to Heaven; Mountain of the Night; Bemsha Swing. DVD Bonus Features: PBS Documentary, Lynne Arriale: Profile of a Performing Artist; Interview with Woomy Schmidt.
Personnel: Lynne Arriale: piano; Jay Anderson: bass; Steve Davis: drums.
The first jazz record I received
as a visiting gift from my
Japanese uncle at his
international division of
Toshiba EMI Tokyo was a
sample copy of Miles Davis'
Bitches Brew. A game
changer redirecting my
browsing habits and collection.