Pianist Lynne Arriale has been steadily building an audience for her trio, which includes bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Steve Davis. Her sixth trio CD, Live at Montreux
, closely follows her fifth effort, Melody
. Somebody out there must dig what she's doing. For a jazz musician, Arriale has a rather unusual background. She began as a classical pianist, receiving an MA from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, but about the time she got it, she decided she'd like to play some jazz gigs. She had so much fun that she decided to make a career in the field and has put a great deal of effort into studying and practicing to learn the jazz vocabulary. Arriale is a talented composer/arranger as well as pianist, and Melody
contains four of her compositions. On it, her writing sometimes has a Celtic flavor, and she enjoys employing modal forms, which encourage melodic improvising. When Arriale addresses standards, she sometimes reharmonizes them to allow herself more improvising options. Arriale's got the chops to play exciting, complex, up-tempo solos, but she also can perform with tender introspection, as songs such as "Estate" demonstrate. She cites Cedar Walton, Keith Jarrett, and Herbie Hancock as influences, but has drawn from other pianists as well. Her spare, percussive work on "Think of One" is reminiscent of the tune's composer, Thelonious Monk. When Arriale appears here, you may hear other influences in her playing as well, but she'll be adapting and synthesizing them to suit her own personality.