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Arise
The album by the Lynne Arriale Trio

Article added on April 1, 2003
 
Arise album review
  
Lynne Arriale unfortunately remains what she has been since our first article of December 2000: the most underrated jazz pianist. One explanation may be that her music is not avant-garde, not revolutionary, but more "traditional". Her latest album, Arise, is a good example of her type of jazz. It contains nine tracks, among which are four compositions written by Lynne Arriale herself.
 
Arise is her first CD for Motéma Music. It begins with Frévo by Gismonti, a perfect illustration of what she excels at: elegant and timeless playing, with grace and style, entertaining and substantial at the same time. American Woman with its dramatic beginning is next, followed by the marvelous title ballad Arise, written by Lynne Arriale. Withers' classic tune Lean On Me is again played with grace and style, the two adjectives which well define the album's overall feeling. Esperanza by Lynne Arriale comes in a relaxed mood, easy-listening in its best sense. After a swinging and not less convincing composition by Kennedy, Kirkpatrick and Sims, the fabulous and dreamlike ballad The Fallen by Lynne Arriale enchants the listener. After the calm Upswing, also written by the trio's leader, the albums ends with a grand coup, the traditional Kum Ba Ya, which the writer of these lines used to sing as a boy scout. Again, pianist Lynne Arriale, drummer Steve Davis and bassist Jay Anderson manage to render it with timeless elegance, maybe together with Frévo and The Fallen the album's best track. Anyway, it is a CD with no weaknesses that we can only recommend. The album's only regret is that it lacks a composition with her unique ethereal touch (such as in With Words Unspoken, found on her album Live at Montreux).
 
Inspiration album review

 
Cosmopolis is not an adulation column, so let's add a few remarks on Lynne Arriale's last album before Arise, namely Inspiration, which left me with mixed feelings. Despite the album's title, the first three tracks, America, It Don't Mean a Thing and Blackbird sound neither inspired nor inspiring enough. They lack Lynne's usual subtlety. Bemsha Swing is maybe something for Monk fans. Above average are the ballads A House is not a Home and So Tender as well as the technical skills displayed on piano on Tones for Joan's Bones. However, "only" two tracks really stand out: Feeling Good and Mountain of the Night. They are simply sensational, played on the trio's highest possible level, to be included in my imagined best of collection. Feeling Good lives up to its title and brings you into a good mood with its thrilling and rousing music. Mountain of the Night with its catchy and charming melody reconciles you with the much weaker first tracks of the album. Inspiration, due to its concept about people and compositions that inspired the trio, does not contain original material written by the gifted Lynne Arriale.
 
Concert at the Bären in Häggenschwil, Switzerland, end of 2001
 
Inspiration was recorded in August 2001. Before the album's release in early 2002, Lynne Arriale came for a second concert to the Bären in Häggenschwil, one year after her first appearance in the Swiss village. For health reasons, bassist Jay Anderson could not be part of it. He was replaced by John Goldsby. Born in Kentucky in 1958, Goldsby lived for some time in New York City before moving to Germany, where, since 1994, he has been playing in the WDR Big Band in Cologne. He managed to integrate himself well into the Lynne Arriale Trio.
 
The concert was the occasion to present some of the titles included on Inspiration. It was also an occasion to compare the old to the new material. Of course, an artist normally plays the best from the old compositions. The contrast was evident, only two titles from Inspiration could hold up to the ones from previous albums. For instance, the concert started off with Chick Corea's Tones for Joan's Bones. It was a performance below average, with the drummer covering to much the sound of his two other trio members. Throughout the entire evening, Steve Davis seemed to have to much energy he needed to get rid of. He mostly hit a bit too hard on his drums, lacking subtleness. However, in the second song played that evening, Feeling Good, he showed that he could do it differently. As you already know from the CD review, Feeling Good is one of "only" two fantastic compositions on Inspiration. Bemsha Swing, the fourth of six songs in the first half of the concert, showed the trio again below its normally high standard. 
 
The second part started off with America, It Don't Mean a Thing and Blackbird, three titles from Inspiration which could not make you cheer. It was Lynne on piano who sent one of the rarer highlights as usual, with Alone Together from Live At Montreux. She proved once more to be the great lyricist among today's pianists. Seven Steps To Heaven with its engaging rhythm and Steve Davis producing whip-like sounds as well as thunderstrucks, definitively caught your attention, testing the pain barrier. The concert ended after thirteen titles with Abdullah Ibrahim's Mountain of the Night, the second highlight from Inspiration. The melodic and sensitive interpretation was also the climax of the concert in Häggenschwil, where the second part of the evening suffered partly from what can be described as "routine". After all, an artist is a human being and not a machine.
 
Concert at the Widder Bar, November 26, 2002, Zurich, Switzerland
 
The concert at the Widder Bar in Zurich showed some remarkable differences in comparison with both, the CD Inspiration as well as the performance of some of its weaker songs in Häggenschwil. This time It Don't Mean a Thing had the necessary swing. Blackbird, played directly afterwards as the evening's third song, suddenly made sense. The dreamy and introspective The Nearness of You, played as the third composition after the break, was charming in its deliberate simplicity. Steve Davis underlaid it with delicate brushes, the same can be said of Jay Anderson on bass. Also Bemsha Swing, which opened up the second part of the evening, was better live than on CD. The trio had sensitively improved the rendition of the weaker and "average" titles on Inspiration.
 
The concert at the Widder Bar was even more remarkable for the rest of the songs played. The concert began with a highlight, the delightful Beautiful Love. Alone Together from Live At Montreux, The Dove from A Long Road Home or Seven Steps To Heaven, arranged by Steve Davis and with a great solo effort by him, enchanted and fired the public with enthusiasm in the first part of the concert. After the break, the lively Frévo by the Brazilian Gismonti and the poetic ballad The Fallen by Lynne, both from Arise, as well as the entertaining Calypso from Live From Montreux guaranteed a continuous high level performance. In Calypso, bassist Jay Anderson had his only longer solo part which he managed brilliantly, with the energy for another entire set. The fourteenth and last composition of the evening was the subtle and enchanting ballad An Affair To Remember. As for the CD review of Arise, one can conclude that the only thing lacking at the Widder Bar was a composition with Lynne Arriale's unique ethereal touch.




Lynne Arriale Trio: Arise. Motéma Music, 2003. Get the CD Arise from:
- Amazon.com
- Amazon.co.uk 
- Amazon.fr 
- Amazon.de
 

Lynne Arriale Trio: Inspiration. TCB, 2002. Get the album from:
- Amazon.de
- Amazon.fr
- Amazon.co.uk
- Amazon.com


 

 

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