Lynne Arraile On Piano

Lynne Arraile On Piano

Lynne Arriale has developed a singular voice as a composer, leader and pianist, through her compelling originals, known for their heartfelt, folkloric quality and her reinventions of pop classics. Her trio is reaching jazz and mainstream audiences around the world with their emotionally stirring performances. Critics have universally praised the group for its singular sound, intuitive interaction, and consistently excellent recordings, which have reached the top of every jazz chart of note.

With back to back #1 Jazz Week radio hits (Inspiration and Arise), an unprecedented #17 Billboard Jazz chart debut, and Arise being chosen #1 on UPI's (United Press International's) top ten jazz CDs of 2003, the Lynne Arriale Trio takes its place among the most compelling jazz groups on the scene today. The trio's previous CD, Inspiration, was # 1 on The New Yorker Magazine's Best Jazz CD's of the Year 2002 and named Best Jazz CD of the Year by the German Record Critic's Association. Grammy winning jazz critic, Bob Blumenthal, describes the trio as one of the most empathetic threesomes in jazz, and as having a shared metabolism and almost telepathic interaction, forged over the past ten years.

The Lynne Arriale Trio's uniquely lyrical and passionate voice has captured international audiences at the prestigious Spoleto Arts Festival, Ireland's Cork Jazz Festival, The Montreux Jazz Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival, Pori Jazz Festival, The Kennedy Center, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, 100 Golden Fingers tour of Japan, (a bill that Lynne shared with jazz greats Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Barron, Cedar Walton, and Monty Alexander), as well as numerous festivals throughout Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, Romania, The Czech Republic, Ireland and the UK. Lynne has captivated fans and critics alike with her expressive passion and melodic virtuosity, which earned her first place at the Great American Jazz Piano Competition. She has dedicated herself exclusively to leading the Lynne Arriale Trio and developing a singular voice in the great jazz piano trio tradition.

The trio has now released their ninth CD, Come Together. The material on the CD includes the Beatles' Come Together, the New Orleans favorite, Iko, Iko, the Scottish ballad, Red is the Rose, as well as six new originals that Arriale composed for this recording. As always, the CD reflects the trio's signature sound -- that of three master musicians listening and communing as one.

Lynne Arriale, pianist, composer and bandleader of the piano trio described by Grammy-winning jazz journalist Bob Blumenthal as 'one of the most empathetic threesomes in jazz', is on top of her game. Her 2003 outing, Arise, reached #17 on Billboard, hit #1 on the national Jazz Week Radio Chart, and #1 - UPI's Best CD list of 2003, garnering international rave reviews along the way. Now with Come Together, the trio's extraordinary 10th anniversary album, Lynne emerges as the crossover favorite of mainstream fans everywhere as she's featured on magazine covers, international festivals, and the television series, Profile of a Performing Artist, airing nationally on PBS member stations throughout 2004-05.

"Lynne Arriale's brilliant musicianship and bandstand instincts place her among the top jazz pianists of the day," proclaims The New York Times. UPI praises Arise as her "finest CD, filled with the sparkling clarity that graces her music." During her Arise tour of the UK and Ireland, The Times of London wrote, "no American pianist has made quite as strong an impression over the past five years ... Lynne Arriale belongs among the poets. Her singing tone and original material make her one of the best hopes for the coming decade."

And it's not just the critics who love her. At a time when the music industry is in a slump and it appears that in jazz only singers are selling, Lynne's trio performs to sold out houses all over the world. As Billboard points out, "Arriale is a rarity among pianists these days ... commanding airplay with her trio recordings." Her music, which JAZZIZ magazine describes as coming from "the synaptic intersection where brain meets heart, where body meets soul," crosses demographic boundaries, captivating the imaginations of all who hear her - including the industry audiences who packed the trio's showcases at the 2004 International Association of Jazz Educators and Association of Performing Arts Presenters conferences last January. "There is nothing more important to us than connecting with the audience," says Arriale. "That is ultimately why we play."

Arriale's almost constant touring schedule has earned her a loyal and diverse following throughout the US, Canada and Europe - including the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Holland, Finland, Spain, Portugal and Italy. "A singular voice as a pianist and as a leader ... a powerhouse ... Arriale's playing is haunting, gorgeous, a breeze of warm sophistication and accomplished pianism, expressive passion and intelligent interpretation," praises Downbeat magazine. "One of the strongest personalities of our time in jazz piano..." with a "musical sensibility which is astonishing," said Le Matin magazine of her Montreux Festival success.

Now, with Come Together (her ninth release), and upcoming performances on PBS television throughout the year reaching over four million viewers, Arriale looks set to surpass herself yet again. The album, recorded with longtime band members - bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Steve Davis - is their most beautiful and deeply moving recording to date. As Blumenthal notes, this trio plays as though they have "a shared metabolism." This is Arriale's second release for the independent label, Motéma Music, which is thrilled with the extraordinary success of her label debut, Arise. And Arriale is equally happy with Motéma. "At a time when most labels are pulling back, Motéma is doing a remarkable job developing artists and nurturing the creative process," she says. And it's working.

Come Together is something of a celebration, marking the trio's 10th anniversary together. Their signature sound is that of three master musicians listening and communing as one. "When you experience life together as we do, the musical connection just naturally deepens over time," Lynne says of her long time collaboration. "We always feel new and spontaneous," she says. "Every performance is different. The music is constantly changing because of life's influences. The connection becomes highly intuitive; it's like breathing together. Whatever one of us does becomes the seed for the next idea or point of departure. We play music without boundaries, without category, no matter whether it's Monk, Bernstein, The Beatles, Ellington or originals. For us, making music is about trust. There's an energy and passion between us that the audience can feel."

Adding to the power of the group's synergy is Arriale's singer's-like ability to connect with an audience. Motéma Music founder, Jana Herzen, noticed it the first time she saw Arriale perform at the MIDEM International Music Conference in Cannes, France, in January 2001. "Though she played the piano and not a sound came from her lips, I had the distinct impression I was listening to a singer," says Herzen, who immediately signed her to the label. Indeed, Arriale, who is adopted, recently discovered that her birth mother had been a professional jazz singer, and Arriale always sings along when she is practicing and composing.

"I have found that the key to expressive playing and truly spontaneous improvisation is singing. I always sing out loud when practicing, and internally when I perform," says Arriale, who began playing the piano when she was four, and has a Masters degree in classical piano performance. "It's been a lifelong process to teach my fingers how to sing." Also important to her is for music to have a vocal quality creating a heart connection. It is this heart connection that she delivers to her audiences time and again. Technique, on which she works extremely hard, often practicing for eight hours a day, is important only in as much as it allows Arriale the freedom and power to express real emotion. "It's no good having the notes if there's nothing behind them," she says. "In life, we can say beautiful words but the tone of our voice expresses everything about the intent and true meaning of what we are saying." And just as the best speakers carefully choose their words to convey their message, Arriale takes it as a personal challenge to convey the emotionality of a song directly to an audience.

In just over ten years since Arriale won 1993's Great American Jazz Piano Competition, she has made eight increasingly acclaimed CDs. Come Together is her most personal expression to date, featuring six compelling original compositions (along with the Lennon and McCartney-penned title track, a prayer-like arrangement of the traditional Scottish folk song 'Red is the Rose' and the New Orleans musical anthem 'Iko Iko'). The title track of Arise, her own composition, was one of the most requested instrumental tracks on jazz radio in 2003. "It inspired me to write even more originals for this new CD," says Arriale.

Composing truly memorable melodies is her challenge as a composer. To make it into her repertoire, an original composition has to "tag along after her and linger" in her mind, she says. But whether her own or someone else's compositions, all the songs in her repertoire have to mean something. "I love folk music from around the world," says Arriale. "It is so beautiful and earthy, so simple and real. It's what I call 'authentic music.' There's no pretense, no trying to be hip, there is just' being' and being 'real.' When we fall in love with a song, it becomes an intimate part of us," she says, "then we can be spontaneous and take the music in many different directions."

The aptly named Come Together is a celebration of the love Lynne feels for her trio and the love they all feel for music and song. "Sharing an experience with those you love intensifies everything," she says. The trio shares this intensity with audiences every time they take the stage. "Music is an international language that transcends boundaries and cultures," says Arriale, who lights up when performing before an audience. "I want to find music that reaches people everywhere." Passionate, heartfelt, haunting, deeply affecting, she unfailingly succeeds.

It has been a pleasure knowing this talented musician who takes her personal diet as serious as her music. That will be in a future article