Monday, April 23, 2012

Lynne Arriale: Solo

Lynne Arriale (piano)
Solo (Motema Music; 2012)

Lynne Arriale has been producing a solid array of albums for a decade and a half now. I personally don't think she gets enough credit or focus Stateside, but maybe I'm reading the wrong papers/magazines.

A style that is both in tune with legends such as Jarrett and Tyner but also aligned with contemporaries like Charlap and Mehldau. Either way, I think more people need to know and discover the simple beauty and complexity of Lynne Arriale. And there's no better time to experience it than now with her new release, Solo.

After so many soothing and delicate records in the quartet and trio format you would be shocked to hear that this is her first full solo album. Arriale pulls out a lot of intimacy and longing throughout Solo. It's filled with a number pieces she's performed and recorded over the entirety of her career, including one of my favourites "Arise" (originally on the 2005 album of the same name).

There's some humorous improvisation on Solo, as evident on the opener, "La Noche." Arriale's technique hearkens back to her classical training but the important aspect here is her ability to make you think of it differently. To the point that its not classical or jazz. It's just beautiful notes creating a story of your own choosing. "The Dove" and "Arise" both illicit a spiritual response - a gospel like aura surrounds these two pieces. They are gentle and have melodies that tell the listener to look inside oneself.

Her two covers of the Thelonious Monk tunes, "Evidence," and "Bye-Ya" are played with invention and an acute sense of intuitiveness. She really does turn these pieces into her own. And you quickly forget about the original melody and are engrossed with her dynamic re-arrangements. "Sea And Sand" is poetic and compelling. A felling of longing and desire wraps around you as you listen to the number. Arriale's performance is close and connects on many different levels.

I've always loved the intimacy of Lynne Arriale's records but nothing will strike you more than when you hear a great musician alone with their instrument than when you hear Solo. A wonderful record for all jazz fans (and yes you there thinking you're not a jazz fan--yes, you.)

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