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Cirque Du Soleil
“Someone”
Delirium
(Cirque Du Soleil)
[listen] [buy] [download]

Patricia Barber
“Whiteworld/Oedipus”
Mythologies
(Blue Note)
[listen] [buy]

Cirque Du Soleil
“Someone”
Delirium
(Cirque Du Soleil)
[listen] [buy] [download]

Jim Pearce
“Why I Haven't Got You”
Prairie Dog Ballet
(Oak Avenue Publishing)
[listen] [buy]

Andy Timmons Band
“Gone (9/11/01)”
Resolution
(Favored Nations)
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Ralph Towner
“If”
Time Line
(ECM Records)
[listen] [buy]

Anoushka Shankar
"Beloved"
Rise
(Angel)
[listen]

Amos Lee
"Arms Of A Woman"
Amos Lee
(Blue Note)
[listen]

Julius Curcio
"American Pie"
Alligator Shoes
(Electric Roots)
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Lemon
"Come Alive"
Changing Into Me
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Cover Story [Issue # 10 ]
Lynne Arriale: Come Together

By Jason Sklar

Come Together ( CD Motema )
Listen to Lynne Arriale on the ONE WAY CD 10


After reaching number 17 on the Billboard charts in February 2003, claiming a #1 spot on the Radio Jazz Charts and heading up the Top 10 Best Jazz CDs of 2003 as selected by UPI, pianist Lynne Arriale and her trio return with some zesty originals and classy covers in fine jazz fashion.

Even though this album has six originals, more than any other of her past recordings, her other albums were “just as personal,” says Arriale. “I wouldn’t put a song on unless I feel very deeply about it.” As a result, Arriale and band-mates Jay Anderson and Steve Davis, on bass and drums respectively, produce emotionally stimulating music ranging from the Beatles’ “Come Together” to her piano presentation of her “Home.”

Arriale’s trio evokes a rawness comparable to that captured by the likes of The Chick Corea New Trio. Just as Corea, Avishai Cohen (bass) and Jeff Ballard (drums) elicited chordal clarity on Past, Present and Futures in 2001. Arriale and Co. serve up a similar ambient openness with crisp bass lines, carefully placed drum surges, and sweeping sonata scales.

Just like with any relationship, Arriale’s group sound stems from being together, playing together, and being on the road together. Invariably, more trust comes out of their shared tonal lexicon. Their common lyrical understanding has allowed a “shared language to deepen over the years,” says Arriale. “It gives us the freedom to go anywhere with the music.”

Having no exposure to jazz growing up, Arriale came to jazz on a whim. While finishing up her Masters degree in classical music, she decided to listen to jazz in response to a passing thought. She quickly learned that jazz entailed playing a melody and then improvising over the chord changes. Her left hand remained more or less the same while creating an entirely new melody with the right. “Jazz is composition and performance at once,” discerns Arriale. “I believe most composers sit at the piano and write a phrase at a time.”

As playing jazz requires impromptu composition in every concert, Arriale likens practicing to learning to speak a foreign language. If, for example, one is learning French as a native English speaker, he must “conjugate verbs over and over, imitating French speakers to get the dialect, the inflection of each word.” In the same way that one tries to construct sentences that make sense in language learning, the jazz musician is set with a similar task when trying to deliver a solo. Classic standards written by Gershwin or Cole Porter often serve as vehicles for improvisation, but Arriale embraces a much broader definition of the standard. “To me, there are no boundaries or strict rules for choosing melodies,” says Arriale. “One should not be limited to the Great American Songbook. Our scope is very wide.”

In her piano playing past, Arriale often employed transcription to familiarize herself with the language. She imitated and emulated the inflections of Bud Powell, Charlie Parker, and Thelonious Monk. In so doing, she strengthened both her technique and control of her instrument. Now, she articulates her own musical ideas in heartfelt, compelling arrangements of notes. While transcription is no longer a part of her practice regimen, she still loves listening to pianist Keith Jarrett, her great friend and mentor Richie Beirach, and Herbie Hancock. “Jarrett’s whole approach is so melodic,” says Arriale. “One melody leads so organically to the next. He never repeats himself - so natural and compelling.”

When taking a popular tune, Arriale remains aware of the need to select melodies that are compelling when lyrics are absent. She asks, “If someone had never heard the tune before, is it still compelling? Does the melody hold up under scrutiny and repeated listening?” After determining that a particular arrangement of notes has a universal appeal, she is then able to connect well with her audience. By choosing and writing strong melodies, Arriale uses music to “express the widest range of human emotion - tenderness, passion, anger, humor - all kinds of different nuisances. That’s our job,” she says.

Finding a great melody requires hearing an “intangible quality that makes it a memorable configuration of notes,” remarks Arriale. An unforgettable melody permits a superlative first impression. By playing melodies with much heart and emotion, Arriale makes an imprint on our collective consciousness. “I try to pull the listener in and reach them,” she says. “After playing an opening sentence, I decide what needs to come next by asking, ‘What’s the most obvious thing to come next?’ I look for the intangible quality that keeps me naturally involved, much like writing a poem or short story.”

Arriale tells stories without words by first producing rhythmic, melodic ideas and then providing an answer to them. Arriale mentions Beethoven’s fifth Symphony as a clear example of telling a story through music. “After he’s [Beethoven] got everyone’s attention with the opening phrase, he extends the same rhythmic configuration and continues to use it throughout the entire piece,” instructs Arriale. In playing jazz, “you are hooking the listener to a motive, the ear goes with that and the listener’s attention is kept by developing the idea.” In the same way an author aims to keep his or her reader enthralled over the course of a novel, Arriale plays to keep her audience engaged all throughout the album.

As Arriale plays through her personal emotions, she gently nurtures the emotions of her audiences. “On 9/11, I was tremendously moved, shocked, horrified as we all were,” sighs Arriale. On her penultimate musical outing, she responded with title track “Arise” - a pianistic window on the emotional responses in her head. She thought, “Look what people are doing to help each other in a time of crisis. To put another’s life before one’s own is an act of the most profound love, generosity, and heroism.” Individuals’ ability to look beyond themselves, work together, and rise out of devastation came out of her playing. Similarly, Arriale’s residence in Nashville is illustrated by “Home,” the first original on Come Together. Arriale’s hope is that the tune conjures personal feelings of home for the listeners. Her personal inspiration came from the deep appreciation of being home after spending so much time on the road. It’s the deer that come to her window - the mother and her baby doe. It came out of sticks in her backyard that are now fruit trees, including Japanese apple pears, peaches, and plums. It is her rasberry bushes and her five cats sitting in the window, a feeling where she is home in a pacifying place of trees and wildlife.

Additionally, she releases a feeling of New Orleans on John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s “Come Together” [on the OW CD] - a calypso that shifts between 4/4 and 6/4 meters, a sassy samba on “Braziliana,” passion and heat in a loose rubato setting on “Flamenco,” an Aaron Copeland-styled “Sunburst,” and a semi-Brazilian current on “Sea and Sand.” Her eloquent song and note selection reflect “the ultimate freedom of expression and freedom in making musical choices,” says Arriale.

Arriale’s motives at the piano have phrases sprout from initial ideas. To do so with seamless ease, she mentions the importance of honing one’s craft. As a teacher, Arriale is adamant about having her students fine-tune the basics. By making sure they perfect their exercises, Arriale enables her students’ ability to share their individual emotions just as she does. She has them sing lines to get their minds engaged and even play solos restricted to the 1, 3 and 5 of the chords. Arriale finds this helps them “naturally hit the right note at the right time when they let go of the exercise and just play.”

As a teacher and musician, Arriale brings a sense of focus and strength of mind to the table. Her musical clarity is both equaled and supported by band-mates Steve Davis and Jay Anderson. After playing together for 11 years, Arriale comments, “Steve can hear so far beyond the drum set. His incredibly creative palette and ultimate spontaneity let the music go where it needs to go.” Likewise, bassist Jay Anderson’s “intuitive, melodic and lyrical playing” completes their “little music family on the road.”

There are many implications of Come Together. “Every place we go, the trio and audience are engaged in music and sound. I love to reach an audience,” smiles Arriale. “We invite the listener on a journey and give them a feeling of what improvisation is right away.” In a setting of social and cultural divisions, Arriale’s message to come together comes through loud and clear.


Come Together
Motema

Listen to (Lynne Arriale) on the ONE WAY CD

Come Together Lynne Arriale Come Together


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