COMPOSERS: Lynne Arriale Trio
LABELS: Motema
PERFORMER: Lynne Arriale Trio


Having regrouped by retreating into neo-classicism in the Eighties, jazz reasserted itself in the Nineties by resorting to one of its classic strategies: extending hospitality to an extraordinary variety of other musics, adapting and assimilating them. The music was thus able to emerge in the new millennium as unashamedly polystylistic, yet retaining its core strengths: interactive spontaneity and improvisational imagination.

Consequently, an average month’s new issues will now run the stylistic gamut, from the strictly conventional, through the mildly eccentric, to the wholly individual.

In jazz terms, the piano trio is definitively conventional, enduring essentially unchanged through all the music’s 20th-century stylistic metamorphoses, and in Lynne Arriale the medium has found one of its most lucid and musicianly exponents. Like a number of other contemporary jazz pianists – Brad Mehldau and Simon Nabatov spring immediately to mind – she is classically trained, and brings all the associated delicacy of touch and precision of articulation to her jazz playing.

Arise features an intelligently varied programme of originals, ranging from affecting laments for the victims of 9/11 to jaunty, Latin-infused sizzlers, alongside funkier fare including Bill Withers’s irresistibly persuasive ‘Lean on Me’ and Egberto Gismontisparkling classic, ‘Frevo’.


Whatever the mood or tempo, however, Arriale’s musical rapport with her rhythm section – deft bassist Jay Anderson and constantly inventive drummer Steve Davis – is simply breathtaking.