- Named one of the top CDs of 2012 by JAZZIZ Magazine
Irish Times – 4 stars
Named Best CD of 2012 – Bird’s the Worm
#28 National Jazz Week Radio
Pick of the Week - EMusic
Pianist/composer Lynne Arriale’s recording, Convergence (featuring Bill McHenry, Omer Avital and Anthony Pinciotti), amassed a considerable amount of critical acclaim: it reached #4 on the Jazz Week Radio Chart; was named one of the "Top 50 CDs of the Year" by JazzTimes Magazine; named one of Jazz Police's Essential CDs; and is the winner of the SESAC National Performance Activity Award.
With each new release and each new tour, Lynne Arriale’s critical acclaim and audience appeal seems to reach another stratum. With the release of her new recording, Solo, Arriale once again engages the spirit of reinvention and rises above the very best of her past efforts with an album of sublime beauty and virtuosity. Motema founder/owner Jana Herzen said of Arriale, "Lynne has been with us since 2003, she was the second artist on the label and one of our truly brilliant and best selling artists through the years. So many times I have enjoyed hearing her in a group setting and yet at the same time had a longing to hear her pianistic voice solo and unadorned. Her fingers 'singing' solo on this disc unsurprisingly turned out to be every bit as engaging as I imagined and then some."
On Solo, which features bold new originals alongside works by Thelonious Monk, Cole Porter, Billy Joel and Lerner and Lowe, the spotlight is directly on Arriale’s piano artistry, and her passionate spirit for this instrument, and for this music, shines with layers of deep emotion. "Some people write in their journals... I create my journal through music; expressing what I cannot put into words," said Arriale.
Following 15 years of working exclusively within the trio and quartet formats on her first nine CDs, Arriale decided the time was right for her to record her first solo CD. Arriale explains, "in rehearsing and recording this program I discovered so much about the solo art form. Without other musicians as part of the dialogue, it became essential to make the range of the music wider and think ‘orchestrally.’ That discovery is having a great impact on my playing now in any configuration. When recording and performing, my focus is always to use melody, rhythm, touch and tone to tell a musical story to my audiences in a way that I hope will touch their hearts. My challenge is to ‘go within,’ and hopefully find the notes that will resonate with the audience. Like a writer looking for just the right word that will bring a phrase to life, I search for just the right notes and nuance of expression. In this respect, Solo is simply a continuation of my musical vision, but in a new context."
For Arriale, this project is also a close and personal interpretation of the music, and for the listener it’s an opportunity to hear Arriale with a new perspective, and a heightened level of intimacy. "Playing solo piano brings us inside the music and creates a closeness between performer and listener," commented Arriale. "Solo piano is so exposed, it involves an inner exploration and an orchestral approach. Improvisational music is alive; we don’t know what is around the next corner, and the music can go in a multitude of directions, especially in a solo piano format, so I wanted the pieces to unfold organically, to follow their own direction. I hope my audiences enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed making this music."
"Playing music means sharing a part of myself with the audience when I perform, and I think of it in the same way that I think of 'love:' it's limitless – I can share it, and there is always more to give. My goal is to play music that allows people to share my passion and be part of the musical experience that they take away with them." – Lynne Arriale
- DownBeat Magazine – 4 stars
- #4 on National Jazz Week Radio Chart
- Named in the Top 50 CDs of 2011 by JazzTimes
- Named Ten Best New Jazz Releases of 2011 in journalist Ken Frankling’s “Jazz Notes”
- ‘Dance of the Rain’ named in Frankling’s 10 Best New Songs of 2011 list
- One of Jazz Police’s Essential CDs of 2011
- Winner of the SESAC 2012 National Performance Activity Award
Drawing from jazz, world/folk, pop/rock, and alternative musical influences, Lynne masterfully connects with her increasingly diverse audience creating an intimate experience through her boldly melodic original compositions and imaginative reinterpretations of unexpected pop classics.
Lynne Arriale is still experiencing the momentum of her previous release, a dizzying flurry of magazine covers, features and stellar critical reviews heralding her skills as an “ingenious arranger, composer, soloist and performer… Arriale has made one of the most original ensemble recordings of 2009. Nuance is an album of brilliant group interpretations, finely crafted original material, intricate arrangements and rapt solos” (DownBeat). Never content to rest on her laurels, Arriale strikes again with an eloquent new work of power and strength exploring previously uncharted musical waters. She’s thrown herself into the deep end of the pool with a new band of young lions: Omer Avital on bass, Bill McHenry on tenor sax and her stalwart new drummer from Nuance, Anthony Pinciotti.
On Convergence, Arriale swims to the surface with stunning adroitness, agility and finesse, taking on not only the challenges of a new band, but a repertoire of six memorable originals and five unexpected pop tunes that range from George Harrison and John Lennon’s classic, “Here Comes the Sun,” to Sting’s bluesy “Sister Moon,” the Rolling Stones’ epic “Paint it Black,” Blondie’s signature tune, “Call Me” and the edgy “Something I Can Never Have” by Nine Inch Nails, all brilliantly and surprisingly re-imagined. On her originals she demonstrates broad compositional skill and a range of cultural and folkloric influences. From the straight ahead jazz romp on “Elements” to the tantric excitement of the up-tempo tour de force, “Here and Now,” to “Dance Of The Rain’s” Middle Eastern influences, each featuring the highly acclaimed Israeli bassist, Omer Avital, who plays oud on the latter track. Also evident is a Celtic spin on the more cerebral, rhythmic, harmonic and cultural intersections of the title tune, “Convergence,” enhanced by the fresh, new, lyrical voice of tenorist Bill McHenry. Two stunning ballads, “For Peace,” as haunting, soulful and searching as its elusive title, and “The Simple Things,” a sonic snapshot of the heartfelt, universal emotions that resonate so resoundingly for all of us, each shine a light on the particular strength Arriale has of “tugging at the heart strings” (Randy Brecker), a trait that has made her a favorite of audiences internationally.
At the core of her vast appeal is the subtle seduction of her intoxicating, memorable melodies and ability to communicate with her band and her audiences. “She achieves a special, deep connection with her audience, and the energy flows both ways. Arriale’s emotional authenticity allows her audience to feel and think along with her” (JazzTimes).
Arriale commented, “The melody is what creates a particular energy and feeling in the listener and it sets the tone. I want my solo to grow out of the melody. Through motivic development, something I’ve worked hard on with my mentor, Richie Beirach, I take an idea, develop it, turn it inside out and come back to it at the end. That resonates with people. Ultimately people remember melodies, not harmonic progressions.” JazzInside says, “She’s an explorer, and a true artist with a very unique voice. She writes beautiful melodies that are memorable and singable, with mindboggling harmonic richness.”
Notes Pinciotti, “Lynne has basically done her own thing her entire career. She had a vision for this record and it took a minute to fine tune everyone; it wasn’t a typical jazz date. Lynne was looking for each piece to have its own specific feeling but also wanted our input. It was a balance between having our contributions with specific directions about phrasing and dynamics. It wasn’t just playing lead sheets.”
“Jazz shouldn’t just be for jazz lovers,” explains Arriale. “It’s all about music, organized sound meant to reach people. It’s thinking outside the box in that there should be no box, actually. It’s about finding melodies that somehow resonate with listeners. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of pop and folk music, and what strikes me most about folk music is that without any harmony, the melodies have such integrity. It has made me think more about what makes a great melody, and I’ve tried to employ some of my ideas here. At the end of the day it’s about connecting with people and sharing.”
Arriale has been sharing her prolific body of audio and video recorded work all over the world since winning the 1993 Great American Piano Competition. A “100 Golden Fingers Tour” of Japan soon followed with jazz giants Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Barron, Cedar Walton, Ray Bryant, Junior Mance, Harold Mabern, Roger Kellaway and Monty Alexander, collaborations with icons Benny Golson, and Rufus Reid, and more recently, George Mraz and Randy Brecker, among many others, all of which speak to her considerable skill and stature within the jazz/improvised music community. She’s performed to packed houses at such prestigious venues as The Spoleto Festival, The Gilmore Piano Festival, JALC’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Kansas City’s Folly Theater, several Women in Jazz Festivals at The Kennedy Center and international jazz festivals too numerous to mention.
In addition to being an accomplished jazz performer and scholar, Arriale is equally dedicated to sharing her knowledge and experience and is currently on the faculty at The University of North Florida (where jazz great Bunky Greene is the Director of Jazz Studies) as an Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano and Director of Small Ensembles. She also teaches privately and conducts master classes, clinics and workshops internationally. Says Arriale, “each of these experiences and collaborations is responsible for my having to set the bar higher in terms of my composing, arranging and performance skills at every performance and on every new recording. These truly gifted masters have inspired me to work even harder by adding more emotion and purpose to my work, and I have come to realize that mastery is only achieved by a lifelong commitment to continued education, discipline, practice and a need to continually set a higher standard of personal excellence.”
While her personal quest continues, the press is onto her remarkable accomplishments and more than eager to spread the word among jazz and music lovers everywhere. Lynne Arriale is “arguably the poet laureate pianist of her generation” (JazzPolice). “She has a genuine flair for seeing jazz potential in compositions which would not appear to suggest themselves as jazz vehicles,” says Amazon, “and is equally adept at creating refreshingly new treatments of standards and originals.“ The L.A. Weekly declares Arriale “a great, organic pianist whose beautiful and muscular playing ranks with Mehldau and Bill Evans.” After one listen to Convergence you’ll discover why The Sunday Times – London declared, “Lynne Arriale is putting the heart back into jazz.”
“I can’t really compare her to anyone. She has a really unique place in the music world. Her music transcends the word ‘jazz’ – it is just pure music. It’s all about Nuance with Lynne.” – Randy Brecker – Trumpet/Flugelhorn – Multi-Grammy Winning Artist
"Lynne Arriale’s remarkable career is graced by a rare commitment to authenticity and vulnerability defined by careful craft and high artistic standards. It is precisely this willingness to remain so emotionally exposed that makes her performances so accessible to music lovers of all kinds. And what diverse and intriguing music it is. Arriale celebrates tunes from all over the musical map. All (her) music dazzles without ever being showy – the passion of the playing and the joy of invention is a story shared with the audience..." – All About Jazz