Lynne Arriale that has once again composed music that seems to reach deep into the soul, heart and mind of all who are open to listen to this stirring and heart-warming melodies.

Challenge Records CR73572

Lynne Arriale (piano & Yamaha Clavinova); Alon Near (bass); Lukasz Zyta (drums)

Recorded July 27 28, 2023

Never one to shy away from the trials and tribulations of life, Lynne Arriale has tackled head on the issues of the worldwide immigration crisis and the life-changing events brought on by the pandemic. With this her fourth album for Challenge Records she presents her boldest statement yet in looking at the very core of all our existence in simply being human.

Often referred to as the poet of jazz, Arriale digs deeps in the ten new compositions presented here, and one suspects has looked inwards and drawn on personal experience as well as those of others when writing the music.

The compositions are all given single word titles, but those words conjure up a whole host of emotions that are felt by us all. That such complex and emotional feeling can be expressed in music is not a new phenomenon, after all that is why so many of us listen to music in the first place; but Lynne Arriale in this recording places a gamut of emotions unashamedly up close and personal that we cannot help but be affected by them.

Listening to the album straight through as one might a suite, one is indeed swept through a myriad of feelings and emotions that linger long after the last notes have faded.

These feelings are ignited from the outset with the opening ‘Passion’ which is dedicated to the climate activist Greta Thunborg. The music is stirring and cannot fail to act as a wake up call, and as is her wont Arriale gently allows her message to unfold; and equally passionate and stoic is ‘Courage’ that is dedicated to the people of Ukraine.

As with human emotion itself, the music can be a roller coaster experience and like life can often be exhilarating, tender and through the words and deeds of others uplifting. ‘Curiosity’ takes the listener from the composed melody line through passages of free improvisation that jettison chord progressions thus allowing the musicians curiosity to guide the music, while ‘Persistence’ moves in a troubled and turbulent manner that ultimately finds a resolution.

Dedicated to the young Pakistani woman Malala Yousafzai who became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Prize for her own persistence in the fight for children’s rights to be educated.

Arriale’s beautiful melodies are also captured in some wonderful ballads. ‘Love’, that most complex of emotions, has a melody that seems to signify a serenity and peacefulness that signifies the better side of human nature, as does the gentle rhythmic sway of ‘Heart’ that also features a fine solo from bassist Alon Near.

The gospel tinged ‘Faith’ elicits a feeling of belonging and comfort; while the calypso feel of ‘Joy’ brings just that with its dancing piano figures and rhythmic impetus from bass and drums.

Those who have been following Lynne Arriale’s progress and recent recordings for Challenge will also note the change of personnel and the debut of a new trio. The compositions sound new and fresh, and this is also down to the presence of new arrivals Alon Near on bass and drummer Lukasz Zyta who bring a very different feeling of time from their predecessors. Whereas Dutch bassist Jasper Somsen who was heard on Lynne’s previous three albums for the label was very much a melodic player adding counter melodies to the pianist’s lines.

Alon Near takes more of a backseat role, preferring instead to offer a firm yet subtle rhythmic support that gives  Arriale more space and room to manoeuvre. Drummer Lukasz Zyta contributes a light sense of swing and a dynamic shading that compliments both Near and Arriale and announces the arrival of another new and imaginative trio.

However, it is the poet laureate of jazz herself Lynne Arriale that has once again composed music that seems to reach deep into the soul, heart and mind of all who are open to listen to this stirring and heart-warming melodies.