Born: May 29, 1957 Primary Instrument: Piano
Lynne Arriale has long been critically acclaimed as having a 'singular voice' as a pianist, composer, arranger and trio leader. Her music, which JAZZIZ Magazine describes as coming from the synaptic intersection where brain meets heart, where body meets soul crosses demographic boundaries, captivating the imaginations of all who hear her. She has now captured a distinctive international television audience as well, a rare feat for any jazz artist. PBS stations across the U.S. have been airing Lynne Arriale: Profile of A Performing Artist, throughout the U.S. for over a year now, with response still strong. And now, BR-Alpha TV, Germany's PBS counter-part, is also broadcasting their magnificently produced live recording of Lynne's debut performance at Burghausen's Jazz Week, Germany's oldest and most prestigious jazz festival.
It is this BR-Alpha TV live recording, in 5.1 surround sound, that forms the core performance of Arriale's new DVD/CD, Lynne Arriale Trio - LIVE, released by In + Out Records throughout Europe, and Motéma Music in North America. This is Arriale's 10th CD as a leader and her sixth with this trio configuration. The DVD also includes a special half-hour version of Profile of a Performing Artist, as well as an impromptu interview by noted German promoter, Woomy Schmidt, and liner notes by Billboard's 25 year veteran international journalist, Mike Hennessey.
This confluence of mainstream media attention for an American jazz trio leader defies trends at a time when this genre struggles for media recognition. It's understandable, given Arriale's physical grace, natural beauty and simple, elegant style, which combine with her unfailingly masterful delivery to inform her inspiring, heartfelt and powerful music. The honesty and conviction of her playing resonate strongly with jazz and mainstream audiences everywhere. There's nothing more important to me than connecting with our audience, says Arriale. That is ultimately why we play.
Strictly Jazz writes, ...pensive, passionate, haunting, genuine, enlightening and deeply affecting, Lynne Arriale has achieved an obvious mastery, a warm and sophisticated style consistent with her goal to have her fingers sing from her heart straight to the heart of her listeners. Lynne Arriale Trio - Live provides the viewer a window through which to see, first hand, what critics have been raving about and countless live audiences have discovered - the magical interaction of Arriale and her trio and the deep emotional impact they have on their listeners. Even more remarkable is to watch her deceptively simple, yet highly melodic and powerful arrangements of pop classics, standards and originals communicate so completely, despite cultural differences or the lack of lyrics. When we play live, says Arriale, there's an added sense of adrenaline and excitement, which is intensified by the audience response. It is richly rewarding to feel the audience breathing with us, like a fourth part to our three way conversation.
She is also very clear about her criteria for selecting material that allows for those interactive conversations. Says Lynne, First, I look for a strong melody which reaches me emotionally and stands alone without a lyric. Second, it must have an inherent potential within its structure that allows for reinvention and rearrangement. Third, the melody must lend itself to the exploration of different feels, so that the trio can reinvent it with each live performance. She continues, Next is the tempo in which a tune seems to find itself at home. And, finally, how the trio comes together then 'breaks apart' to create those ah-ha moments for itself and the audience. In Arriale's world, the audience truly has an active role in the dynamic of the music. We feel emotionally charged by them, she says, which can take us in a totally new direction. People often relay their feelings about tunes on various recordings. But, she says, live, they communicate those feelings immediately, which has a deep and often unconscious impact on us as a unit, and deepens our communication in that very moment. It is a win/win situation and the best example of music as a profound communicator and uniting force.
The most challenging thing for Arriale as a composer is to create an original, memorable melody. When it works, she says, people feel drawn in from the first phrase and stay with us to be transported on an unexpected journey. She works to create a melodic arc and to capture a folkloric quality in her originals. When re-interpreting pop classics or standards, she searches for unexpected ways to organically deconstruct the tune, while preserving the original compositional narrative and idea. In both cases, she says, it is that heartfelt quality I have to feel first and build on to convey it to an audience.
It is consummately important to Arriale that the music always takes center stage and speaks for itself. Consequently, she is often quite spare in her communication from the stage. I feel so immersed in the musical conversation with the audience, she admits, that it often feels difficult to banter with them. I'm in awe of such a powerful connection to so many people at once. Perhaps this explains why she so enjoys giving her audiences total access to her after each performance, when she can engage them individually, sign autographs and treasure those moments of sharing with each person who wants to reach out to her. She has and will always continue to do this. Says Lynne, The substance of many of these conversations often provide new inspiration for me. I feel uplifted and rejuvenated by them, even after a long performance. Arriale has been described by critics as having a singer's-like ability to connect with an audience. Dr. Herb Wong writes in the IAJE Journal, One of the most intuitive pianists combining head with heart, her improvisations are tethered to a tangible, hugely melodic treasury. Clive Davis of The London Times writes, Arriale is putting the heart back into jazz!
Arriale has had successful back-to-back #1 hits on the national Jazz Week Radio charts, topped the Best Of lists of the New Yorker, UPI, the German Critics Association, charted #17 on Billboard, toured Japan with the legendary 100 Golden Fingers group, and won the 1993 Great American Piano Competition. She has performed to packed houses at the prestigious Spoleto Festival, The Gilmore Piano Festival, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center and Kansas City's noted Folly Theater to name a few. The Trio opens the May, 2007 Women in Jazz Festival at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and will continue to tour performing arts centers and major festivals internationally.