and her trio with Steve Davis and Jay
biographies, CDs, concert review, interview
biographies updated on December
At the tender age
of three, Lynne Arriale began to play by ear on a plastic toy piano, making
up her own melodies. It took her a few months to
convince her family to find a piano teacher, but she did. Born in Milwaukee, she initially studied classical
music at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music from where she has a master's
degree. Arriale was playing classical music into her mid-20s. That is surely
were her stunning technique and fluid play come from. In this regard, she
is comparable to a
great pianist like Oscar Peterson.
Lynne switched to
jazz because this form of music calls on composition, performance and
execution. She said that after playing the tune "you have to come up with
something", and that was "magical" to her. She played as a
side musician in New York where she moved to in the mid-1980s. Lynne
focused on playing her own music with her own
trio since about 1992, developing her own sound as a leader. Her expressive, melodic virtuosity earned her the first
prize at the Great American
Competition in 1993.
After winning the competition, Lynne Arriale
made her recording debut with The Eyes Have It, which includes
Yesterdays, My Funny Valentine, Witchcraft and My Man's Gone Now.
In 1995, Lynne and her trio recorded When You Listen, which contains
unique arrangements of How Deep Is the Ocean, Bess You Is My Woman Now and
other standards and originals. The Lynne Arriale Trio's subsequent
recordings include With Words Unspoken, A Long Road Home, Melody
and Live at Montreux. From the beginning, Lynne Arriale was a
musician who "lives her music" Therefore, she always sounds
true. Critics from Downbeat, JazzTimes, JAZZIZ and
press throughout the US, UK and continental Europe acclaim her - as do
the audiences who have seen her live. Only the masses have yet to follow.
In addition to
performing, the trio is actively involved in jazz education, conducting clinics throughout the US, UK and continental Europe. Lynne Arriale and
Steve Davis also are faculty members of the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz
Workshops and the Thelonious Monk Institute in Aspen, Colorado.
Davis, born in Santa Barbara, California, in 1958, has performed with
Richie Beirach, Bill Evans, David Liebman, Walt Wiskopf, Pat LaBarbara, John
Patitucci and Lynne Arriale. He has been
part of the Lynne Arriale Trio for the last eight years, since its
inception. Davis' over 70 recordings include three projects as a leader, as
well as numerous recordings with such artists as Walt
Weiskopf, Conrad Herwig, Richie Bierach, Bill Evans, Kenny Werner, Tim
Hagans, John Pattitucci, Manfredo Fest and Andy Laverne. A highly respected jazz educator,
Steve has written six educational drum books and has conducted educational
workshops around the world. In
addition to performing, Steve has been on the faculty of Jamey Aebersold
Jazz Clinics since 1982 and recently served on the faculty of the Berlin
Conservatory of Music as professor of jazz studies. He has written six
educational drum books and has conducted educational clinics throughout
his own recording studio and has recorded over 100 jazz CDs, including the
trio's A Long Road Home and Melody.
Bassist/composer Jay Anderson was born in Ontario, California, in
1955. He began playing acoustic bass at the age of 12. Since
that time, he has won numerous awards for both jazz and classical
performance. Jay Anderson is a graduate of
California State University at Long Beach. Since
moving to New York City in 1982, he has been a regular member of
the bands of Michael Brecker, Michael Franks, Red Rodney, Ira Sullivan,
Toots Thielemans, Eliane
Elias, Bennie Wallace, Steve Khan, Carmen McRae. Since 1992, he has been a
regular bassist with Joe Sample. Jay has been featured on over 150
recordings, including work with Paul Bley, Randy Brecker, Bob Berg, Bob
Mintzer, Mike Stern, Donald Byrd, Terumasa Hino, Lee Konitz, Warren
Bernhardt and many others. He has performed with the big bands of Woody
Herman, Kenny Wheeler, Maria Schneider, Mel Lewis, Toshiko Akiyoshi &
Lew Tabackin, and WDR Köln, Germany. He has also recorded two albums of
his own for the DMP label, Next
non jazz recordings
include albums with Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Michel Legrand,
Allen Ginsberg and the Grammy Award winning 1997 Record of the Year, Falling
Into You by Celine Dion. Jay is featured on 10 Grammy nominated
is also a recipient of the NEA grant for composition and two Meet the
Composer grants and
has been featured on ten Grammy Award nominated recordings. He has
conducted clinics around the world
and is a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music and SUNY New Paltz,
Long Road Home
is a trio album with Lynne Arriale on piano, John
Patitucci on bass and Steve Davis on drums. The first tune, Monk's Bye-Ya
is too confusing and noisy for me, but Will o' the Wisp, composed
by Lynne Arriale herself, shows her stunning introspective side through
her ethereal play; a highlight. Gillespie's A Night in Tunisia is
fresh, original, as all traditional tunes which the
trio plays. Lynne's arrangement of A Night in Tunisia modulates into different keys, slightly changing the
melody. The elegant group play is only interrupted by a solo by drummer Steve Davis. Wouldn't It Be
Lovely by Lerner and Lowe is again set in contrast to the previous
tune and once more shows Lynne's lyrical side. The following tune, Letters From Mike
O'Brien, continues with reflective moments, where Lynne's piano
playing shines the brightest. The tune, written by Arriale, is dedicated to one
of her fans in Saint Louis who has sent her many touching letters.
Lynne says that what matters to her is to find her own way, hence the
album's title: A
Long Road Home. Gillespie's Con Alma, Parker and Rainger's I
Wished On The Moon, which Arriale remembers having heard in an
interpretation by Billie Holiday, are the next tunes on the CD. The
folk-like The Dove, offering additional magical moments, and the
title song A
Long Road Home, both written by Lynne Arriale, complement the album.
It is not Lynne's virtuosity
but her capacity to express emotions that is at the center of this album.
CD Melody continues where A Long Road Home ended,
with a lyric tune, Turning. The main difference in A
Long Road Home is Scott Colley on bass. The Forgotten Ones is
inspired by images of abandoned people. Lynne kept the tune "in it's
simplest state". She says that "it's like speaking, one phrase following the
next inexorably". Beautiful Love is the first composition not
written by Arriale herself. It offers some optimistic sparkling. But
Beautiful is a marvelous, melodic ballad, with its theme fading and
re-emerging. Dance, like Turning, was inspired by Celtic
music and lives up to its title. Hush a Bye is a traditional folk
song previously recorded in a jazz context, among others, by Stan Getz and
Kenny Barron. Lynne sang it in the second grade. "It's a nice
breather", she says about it. Her version of Gershwin's It Ain't
Necessarily So is full of stops and starts, but still swinging and
grooving. Touch Her Soft Lips And Part by the British classical
composer William Walton is a tune Arriale first heard on Peter Erskine's Sweet
Soul album. He wrote it for Henry V, the scene where
"Pistol goes off to war and doesn't know whether he'll see his lover
again". It is a tender tune offering another touching moment on Melody.
For the final contrast, the Lynne Arriale Trio recorded The Highlands,
written by the pianist herself. It is a pedal-point wailer which mixes
Celtic elements with jazzy, bluesy and funky ones before the original
groove comes back.
Arriale's latest release, Live At Montreux, is, as
the previous ones, always emotionally engaging. Steve Davis is still her
drummer, but Jay Anderson is now featured on bass. The live experience of the
famous jazz festival, a first for Lynne, gives a special flavor and an unmatched intensity to the album.
In 1999 in Montreux, the trio started off with Alone Together, a
tune played with classical elegance. Monk's tune Evidence
followed, rendered with great sensibility. One of the highlights and my
favorite tune, With Words Unspoken, was next. It is an ethereal,
delicate, fragile and emotional piece written by Lynne Arriale. That's as
good as it gets. Seven Steps to Heaven is an entertaining,
optimistic and joyful tribute to Victor Feldman's composition. It features
Steve Davis with a great and long solo on drums, before the trio returns
to classical elegance. Think of One by Monk is another tune
offering great "action". Estate is an introspective
ballad of reflective sadness and another highlight, like the joyful and
funny Calypso, a Mardi Gras bounce composed by Lynne. The Montreux
concert ended with An Affair
To Remember, a wistful, reflective and poetic ballad which, in its
fragility, comes close to With Words Unspoken. The album Live At
Montreux is gorgeous, sophisticated, simply sensational.
Interview with Lynne Arriale,
end of the year 2000
Who are the pianists and trios who have influenced you most and how?
Monk? Bill Evans?
Probably the biggest influence has been Keith Jarret, because of the
spontaneity of his melodies and because I never hear him play any clichés. He is constantly spinning out new melodies and is completely in
the moment with his improvisations. And, of course, I have been inspired by so many musicians, that it would be hard to list all of
them. I am mostly inspired by melody.
But you play a lot of Monk.
Lynne Arriale: I don't play like Monk, but his compositions are great vehicles
for a musician. Another strong influence is Herbie Hancock.
Cosmopolis: What effect did the appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival
have on your career?
It was a wonderful experience for us and the first live recording that
have done. There have been many "Live at Montreux" recordings
by groups over
the years, so there is a legacy associated with the festival. We
thrilled to have a documented performance at the festival.
At least on your last 3 CDs, you played with 3 different bass players, whereas Steve Davis remained your drummer.
Why? Has your trio stabilized now?
Lynne Arriale: We have played with several great bassists over the years, and each one
brought a particular energy to the group. I am very happy about
chemistry that exists between Jay Anderson, Steve Davis and myself. I
the most free and inspired in this trio, and I believe we will continue to
play together for a very long time. Besides, Anderson was part of my
first trio in 1992.
The trio seems to be the ideal form for you. Have you ever
thought about accompanying a singer or playing in a larger group or even
in a big band?
I have played in different groups (with singers, quartets, quintets, big
bands) throughout my musical career, and now I am focusing on the trio
primary vehicle of expression. I feel it is the
configuration that is best
for me to develop musically, and to continue to develop a particular
in the music. I like playing the melodies, and there
is something really
special to me about three voices interweaving and conversing in a
Cosmopolis: What do you intend to explore in the future (works by specific
composers)? Will composing become increasingly important for you?
I have ideas for many different tunes that I would like to incorporate
our repertoire, as well as original compositions. During the next
months, I have time to explore different music and different textures in
group. I probably will do more composing, but my main interest is
melodies that resonate with me, and it doesn't matter to me if I have
them or if someone else has already written them. The melody is
and in a certain way, it transcends ownership (royalties and copyrights
notwithstanding!). It is just "out there," and I am
grateful to find
beautiful melodies (in whatever genre of music they might be found), or
interesting melodies that have great thematic material that we can
in our solos.
Cosmopolis: Do you write for other musicians?
Not at the present, I barely have enough time to write for the trio,
we are traveling so much, and I need to be at home to really focus on
writing and arranging.
You mostly play traditional tunes. What are the jazz styles you
prefer and why?
Lynne Arriale: We play tunes in the jazz repertoire, not because they are traditional
or non-traditional, but because they are excellent melodies and good vehicles
improvisation. That is why a tune becomes a "standard,"
because it lends
itself to improvisation. We also play tunes that are not in the jazz
repertoire at all, such as some of my originals which have a Celtic influence, and others with a
world music and folk influence.
repertoire is very important, but also how we arrange the tunes, and how
play them that is of great interest to me. Many of the
arrangements we play
take traditional tunes in a different direction than what is
usually played. So many factors can create a completely new and fresh rendition of
the key, the tempo, the "groove," the level of interaction or
non-interaction of the group, the simplicity or the complexity of how we are playing. I try to
approach a standard as if I have never heard it before and have no
preconceived ideas of how it should go; so that I can, hopefully,
the tune again, and find a particular way to play it that creates a new
feeling for me. So it never feels like we are just playing some
spend a long time finding what I feel is the repertoire that will be
inspirational to the group and allow us to find something new each time
perform a tune. I am constantly scrutinizing our repertoire and the
arrangements, to see how one fits with the next in our program, in order
create a particular experience for the listener. We must be
inspired by the
repertoire, because if we are not inspired by the tunes we choose,
can we possibly hope to reach our audience?
Tell me about the concept of your arrangement and performance of Monk's Bye-Ya.
Lynne Arriale: In Bye-Ya, there is a give and take to the time
which is very obvious and gives it kind of a "drunken" feeling,
yet very humorous. If you follow the melody of my solo, it is melodic, but
it is articulated in a very humorous, "tongue in cheek" (as we
say here) way. That is the whole point of the rendition. We could have
played it completely straight, but we accentuated the humorous aspect of
the piece and completely took it into that quirky, funky, lopsided feeling.
There are other stylistically different things, such as my
left hand being way down in the bass range, on purpose, to "get in
his space". I mentioned to John that he didn't need to
"hold the fort down" but could play anywhere, and anything. I
heard it as a lot of "plink, plink" kind of sounds in all
registers of the instruments, like a pointilistic painting.
Cosmopolis: Have your preferences changed over the years?
I am sure that they have, but I don't really remember what I used to
like and dislike; I am really only aware of how music and repertoire feels to me
Lynne Arriale. Lynne Arriale at Amazon.com
Get Lynne Arriale's 2011-album Convergence from
by the Lynne Arriale Trio
Come Together, September 2004. An honest, unpretentious album with a
impressionist feeling, only surpassed by Live At Montreux (check
below), which best captures her qualities. Get the CD
Come Together from Amazon.de
The Eyes Have It, 1994, Dmp.
When You Listen, 1995, Dmp..
With Words Unspoken,
A Long Road Home,
1997, Tcb. Get the album from:
Melody, Tcb, 1999. Get the album from:
Live At Montreux, Tcb,
May 2000. Her best album. It captures the magic of one of her
best live performances. Get the album from:
Added on July 2, 2002:
Lynne Arriale Trio: Inspiration. TCB, 2002.
Get the album from:
Lynne Arriale Trio: Arise. Motéma Music, 2003. Get the CD from
Added in April 2003:
Check also our reviews
of Arriale's albums Arise and Inspiration.
Concert at the baroque
hall of the Bären in Häggenschwil, Switzerland, November 17, 2000
November 17, The Lynne Arriale Trio featuring Lynne on piano, Steve Davis
on drums and Jay Anderson on bass played in the baroque hall at the Bären
in Häggenschwil (built in 1762).
It was the first concert in the old and completely paneled hall. According
to Peter Scherrer, the organizer, other acoustic trios will perform there
every three to six months. The almost cubic and wooden soundbox
of the Bären offers sensational acoustics [January 2005: in a second
concert I sat upstairs and the acoustics were average; the magic of the
first concert, sitting in front of the musicians, carried me away]. The intimate audience of some
150 people was the ideal showcase for Lynne's trio.
trio began the concert with a free abstraction of the tune The Song is
You, playing two choruses of very open displaced time, before bringing
the tune into a a fast swing. The delicate Lynne Arriale played on the piano with closed
eyes. She literally
spoke to the music, the piano and to herself, especially in the poetic
solo part. It was a tune of classical elegance. The soft and lyric ballad Feeling
Good by Newley and Bricusse came next. The interplay between the
musicians was harmonious. The trio is a symbiosis with Lynne as their
shining star. Jay Anderson on bass is the kit who perfectly connects drums
and piano. Anderson was a discrete but essential element. Steve Davis
often acted as counterpart to the piano. Another ballad followed with Burt
Bacharach's A House Not A Home. Arriale's stylistic confidence was
breath-taking, the delicate end of the song masterful.
Together, a tune from Live At Montreux, was an energetic and
joyful contrast to the lyric tunes played before. Another
emotional and rhythmic world opened up. The trio did not make cheap
gestures, the music was not just fast and loud, it also made sense. In Alone
Together, bassist Jay Anderson had the opportunity to display his
great melodic virtuosity and to show why he is such a vital voice in the
trio. Steve Davis and
Lynne Arriale shone in small alternating solos on drums and piano before
the trio found their way back to the melody.
written by Martino and Brighetti and from Live in Montreux,
was a calming ballad, reflective and warm. How Lynne tuned down the sound
and finally eclipsed it was great art. Gillespie's A Night In Tunisia
was next. The torrid play and the blind coordination between piano and
drums were stunning. The trio continued its contrasting program with
William Walton's Touch Her Soft Lips and Part. A sad tune with
Lynne's delicate piano playing as the highlight. The last song before the
break was a composition by Lynne from her latest release: The joyful Calypso
was played with humor, precision, warmth and lightness.
second part started off with Monk's Bemsha Swing. The beginning was
full of improvised elements. The humor also got its fair share.
The Nearness of You followed in complete contrast. Harmony and
elegance triumphed in this ballad. Steve Davis only used the brushes. The
trio sent out warm waves. Lynne Arriale produced bright, bell-like scales.
Beautiful Love followed. Like on the CD Melody, the melody
triumphed in this tune. Davis delicately accompanied Lynne's flights on
piano with his brushes. Towards the end, the rhythm became almost
orgiastic, before he faded out slowly.
a composition by Kern that Lynne recorded on her debut album The Eyes
Have It, was played in an arrangement by Steve Davis. It was lively
and flamboyant. Lynne showed off her exhilarating virtuosity. It included
a spectacular and at the same time sensitive drum solo. In the end, she lead the trio back to the
After the great fun
experience came a touching, dreamy and transcendent Don't Let Me Be
Lonely Tonight by James Taylor. Another highlight of the evening.
Gershwin's It Ain't Necessarily So, recorded on Melody,
followed. The joy and fun were back. Abdullah Ibrahim's Mountain of The
Night was the encore. A simple but delicious rhythm lead to
trance-like ethereal moments on piano. Steve Davis accompanied Lynne in a
subtle way, with his bare hands on drums.
was an unforgettable, chamber music-like evening in the Swiss province. It
needed the omnipresent but unobtrusive playing by Jay Anderson on bass to
hold the trio together. Steve Davis with his ability to dance on drums and
paint colors complemented the trio, but sometimes also played in sharp
contrast to them. Despite his escapades, he held the swing going. Lynne
Arriale, with her capacity to bring emotion, intellect and intuition
together, is the outstanding but still underrated pianist of the moment.
Hopefully, she will come back to the Bären one day. It is the ideal setting for her
acoustic trio. - Lynne Arriale at Amazon.com