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CD REVIEW: The Lynne Arriale Trio - Inspiration
By Ben Ohmart - 01/01/2002 - 01:08 PM EST

Artist: The Lynne Arriale Trio
Album: Inspiration
CD Review: Lynne Arriale - pianist
Jay Anderson - bass
Steve Davis - drums

Anyone who can make the Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’ interesting for 5 minutes withOut resorting to an intense repetitive base has to be given a jazz medal by Monk himself. The shifting rhythmic patterns of this classic folk-rock song, done for the above instrumentation, is a delight to hear. It moves, swings, but all along it there’s a wonderful feeling of collaboration among the players and composers, though death and distance are between them.

Therein lies the secret to Arriale’s global success. Arrangements. Not just spirited or passionate playing. But a unity of purpose and - well, delight. They are Working, really working Hard to find a new way of saying the old favorites, and in today’s world of a billion jazz albums already pressed, that’s quite an achievement, considering the hard work does pay off.

A wonderfully smooth contrast to the show-off tracks is the sultry walk down ‘A House is Not a Home.’ Like a beautiful woman moving from room to room, waiting for the man she loves, there is a deep story within such instrumental splendor. The story is gentle, foreboding, but all the way fulsome in the arms of romance.

It’s a far cry from the follow up ‘Bemsha Swing’ that spits in fits and starts like a 70s Jeff Beck record, progressing, rising and falling like a fine dramatic novel turned to music. If ‘experimental’ were to be grafted onto any cut on this 58 minute cd, the closest choice would be this one, full of thumping, driving chords and sparse pauses of excited murmurs among instrumental things.

What Lynne needs with our piddling review site I’ll never know. Raves from everything adorn her person, from the New York Times and London Times to those who know like JazzTimes and Strictly Jazz, and everyone from the Washington Post to LA Times in between.

That’s because this is the 6th or 7th Trio cd out there and the resources at their command shine through with, literal, brilliance. Arriael started music at age 4, eventually receiving her Master’s and touring Europe, and more touring with the likes of Hank Jones, Kenny Barron, Monty Alexander, etc, etc. She won the 1993 International Great American Jazz Competition, and is loved by all and one for her 1999 Montreux Jazz Festival performance, the cd of which is selling like Christmas.

Then there’s Jay Anderson who has found himself on 150+ recordings, doing bass for people like Michael Franks, Steve Khan, Bob Berg, Mike Stern, Mel Lewis and on and on. Steve Davis has clicked the beat for Bill Evans, Richie Bierach, David Liebman and has served on the Berlin Conservatory of Music’s faculty, and other top schools.

That’s enough. Buy the cd, jazz lovers, because it’s impossible not to be impressed by this lovely lady and friends. Exciting or seducing. Whatever she wants, she gets.

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