Lynne Arriale – Convergence – Motema MTM 54, 50:30 ****:
(Lynne Arriale – piano; Bill McHenry – tenor sax; Omer Avital – bass; Anthony Pinciotti – drums)
With her new quartet of New York City-based musicians, Lynne Arriale has been touring the U.S. recently in support of her latest album “Convergence”. This session brings together a number of Arriale original compositions, along with some covers of tunes from the pop/rock world, and is a furtherance of her musical path.
Arriale has undeniable talent. She has, perhaps, not been top of mind in jazz circles, due in part to her teaching position at the University of North Florida. No matter. Arriale leads off with her own composition “Elements” in a trio format, that sets the pace with an up tempo number full of twist and turns, and strong rhythmic support. Bill McHenry then joins the fray on “Here And Now” one of the five tracks on which he appears, and shows his mettle. Arriale then slides into the Harrison/Lennon/McCartney tune “Here Comes The Sun” and offers a harmonious interpretation with some interesting bass work provided by Avital. It now becomes clear that Arriale is on journey looking to explore untested musical terrain and move the acknowledgment needle. ”Sister Moon,” the bluesy opus by Sting, is given a reading that fits the circumstance, with Avital and Pinciotti delivering the appropriate cover. Blondie’s “Call Me” has McHenry’s tenor exploring an interpretation with all the uneven nooks and crannies exposed.
For a change of pace, Arriale offers an original composition entitled “Dance Of The Rain” which has a strong Andalusian flavour, especially with Avital’s use of the oud ( a pear-shaped string instrument). Another Arriale original is “For Peace”, which is a rather solemn and melancholy composition, bringing the required pathos by McHenry’s tenor sax. The next two pieces come from the rock world including the Stones ”Paint It Black” and Nine-Inch Nails’ “Something I Can Never Have”. Both confirm that in the right hands, they are open to interpretations that are not too far off the jazz path. The title track “Convergence” is a quartet feature that sets up beautifully and solidifies what Arriale is trying to accomplish with her writing and playing.
This disc is a fascinating followup to her 2009 recording entitled “Nuance” and demonstrates her capacity for dexterity, liveliness, and assurance.
TrackList: Elements; Here And Now; Here Comes The Sun; Sister Moon; Call Me; Dance Of The Rain; For Peace; Paint It Black; Something I Can Never Have; Convergence; The Simple Things.
— Pierre Giroux