COMPOSERS: Lynne Arriale Trio
PERFORMER: Lynne Arriale Trio


Much has been made lately of the fact that many of today’s most accomplished jazz pianists are classically trained, and consequently thoroughly imbued with the associated musical virtues (chief among them scrupulous attention to the subtlest nuances of textural and dynamic variation). Lynne Arriale is one, but on this, her fifth trio album, she demonstrates just how successfully she has absorbed core jazz values.

As she herself says: ‘My group’s interaction is not call-and-response or imitation as much as a certain acknowledgement, sometimes very subtle and abstract, that you’ve heard what someone else just did.’ Such an emphasis on spontaneous musical interplay is one of jazz’s great strengths, and in drummer Steve Davis and bassist Scott Colley Arriale has found the perfect foils for both her burnished tone on the album’s ballad material (Davis’s cymbal work on ‘But Beautiful’ has to be heard to be believed) and her imaginative robustness on its up-tempo material, much of it comprised of vigorous Celtic-flavoured originals.


Arriale herself acknowledges that her music has ‘at its core a certain simplicity of melody and a certain heartfelt quality’, but rather than the easy listening this description might suggest, Melody is thoroughly absorbing and unfussily virtuosic, simply state-of-the-art piano-trio jazz. Chris Parker