First attracting widespread recognition when she won 1993’s International Great American Jazz Piano Competition, in the past quarter-century Lynne Arriale has grown in stature, becoming one of the very best musicians in her field.
Originally released in May last year, this is her 14th album as leader and is a vivid display of her talent not only as pianist but also as composer. Six of the nine tracks hereon are her compositions and are richly varied in concept and style. Although these works are very different from one another, they have a certain commonality in that they are all admirably melodic.
For this listener, the differences emerge as themes and underlying rhythms suggest that Arriale might have drawn inspiration from other lands and musical genres. Her arrangements of the other three pieces are also different in style, hinting at their origins while simultaneously becoming very much Arriale’s own. These works are Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock, John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s Let It Be and Kathleen Brennan and Tom Waits’ Take It With Me.
Arriale’s playing is distinctive and she displays flair and skill in all that she does. Nowhere, though, does she use her considerable technique simply for its own sake. Arriale’s collaborators here are fine musicians who bring subtle yet important touches to the session, supporting and enhancing the leader’s performance. The liner note is a long and elegiac essay by Lawrence Abrams. This is contemporary jazz piano playing at its very best and should appeal to many.
(1) Woodstock; Appassionata; Finding Home; Give Us These Days; Slightly Off-Center; Another Sky; Let It Be; Over And Out; (2) Take It With Me (50.31)
(1) Arriale (p, arr); Jasper Somsen (b); Jasper Van Hulten (d). 18/19 December 2017. Belgium.
(2) Arriale (p); Kate McGarry (v). 22 August 2017. NYC.