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Lynne Arriale Trio: Being Human



Lynne Arriale Trio: Being Human
Composer and pianist Lynne Arriale photographed by Andrea Canter [source: the artist's website]

If the last three albums did not convince you that her inward-looking evocations combined with her gorgeous simplicity of melodic line, makes Lynne Arriale not a singular voice amid the often-overcrowded world of pianists then this album Being Human most certainly will. In a sense the deeply meditative music with their one-word titles makes these glorious miniatures seem like vortices of emotion.  Give Us These Days [Challenge, 2018], Chimes of Freedom [Challenge, 2020] and The Lights Are Always On [Challenge, 2022] examined her place as an artist in our troubled world and dictated how she chose to respond, first as a flesh and blood human being with an aching heart, which, in turn made her an artist of the first order. Being Human seals the deal.

And so it is that we have here – as we did on those earlier albums – what the inimitable Yusef Lateef once described as “heart music”. For this is music that is born of body and soul. The compositions bear the hallmark of a composer who composes not so much with pencil on staved paper, but with the proverbial nerve-endings of the very flesh of her fingers that caress the keys as she plays the music. Her glorious melodic lines lift the black dots off the paper and exhort them to sing and dance and pirouette like Apollo’s Angels in the air around you. Her attack is soft as her fingertips.

Cover of the recording – Lynne Arriale Trio: Being Human

Simple melodic lines are infused by soaring harmonies unquestionably making for a kind of chorale-like muted-horn orchestral illusion throughout the repertoire, culminating not unpredictably in the inspirational Love [Reprise] performed on the Yamaha Clavinova. This is a brilliant finale to an album with so many heart-on-the sleeve moments that you will find yourself catching your breath in absolute awe of Miss Arriale’s introspective artistry.

Despite the fact that we are swathed in music that deals with soft emotions, Miss Arriale’s approach to each word painting – for that is what each song is really – is clear and penetrating yet never strident. This is an approach that puts a spotlight on her meticulous technique, one which is informed by shades of subtle changes in articulation, while imparting a gentle lilt the rhythm, which – in turn – gives a sense of air between the notes. Her legato mastery particularly reveals itself in the slower, dreamier miniatures such as Love, Soul, and Heart. Here you will notice Miss Arriale’s strongly independent hands, and how her miniscule finger overlappings create sustained, vocally oriented lines.

Equally significant to the fact that the album speaks to Miss Arriale’s humanity is the fact that it has been inspired by the epiphany that wee all belong to the Human Race and if we are to survive we should allow “Love”, in directing our humanity, to be the glue that binds us. Accordingly she pays homage to individuals who have inspired her to create this music: Greta Thunberg [Passion], the people of Ukrainian [Courage], humankind [Love], people of faith [Faith], the autistic mathematician Jacob Barnett [Curiosity], the young American poet Amanda Gorman [Soul], Malala Yousafzai [Persistence], Khrystyna Lopatenko, the chief nurse at a Kharkiv hospital [Heart], Mattie Stepanek, a young man severely hampered by a neuromuscular disorder and Brené Brown, known for her celebrated TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability [Joy].

One would be remiss if one did not speak to the magnificent participation in this music of bassist Alon Near and drummer Lukasz Zyta both of whom, fully attuned to Miss Arriale’s vision and artistry, have poured heart and soul into their own playing. It’s no wonder we have an album to absolutely die for.

Deo gratis…

Music – 1: Passion; 2: Courage; 3: Love; 4: Faith; 5: Curiosity; 6: Soul; 7: Persistence; 8: Heart; 9: Gratitude; 10: Joy; 11: Love [Reprise].

Musicians – Lynne Arriale: piano and Yamaha Clavinova; Alon Near: contrabass; Lukasz Zyta: drums.

Released – 2024
Label – Challenge Records [CR 7352]
Runtime 40:47

Based in Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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