Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Lynne Arriale trio, Being Human, Challenge ****

Spotify album link added on 3 March Not out for a while yet but dear marlbank reader you need to know about Being Human in good time, easily the most outstanding album we have heard recently and an album that we have been playing all the time …

Published: 21 Jan 2024. Updated: 3 months.

rsz_photo_the_lights_hi_res_credit_joe_montezinos

Spotify album link added on 3 March

Not out for a while yet but dear marlbank reader you need to know about Being Human in good time, easily the most outstanding album we have heard recently and an album that we have been playing all the time since first getting an early copy 10 days ago. This is pianist-composer Lynne Arriale’s 17th album, she has always been a revered figure among piano jazz fans but has never received the sort of wider acclaim beyond these intimate circles that make her name instantly familiar which is a mystery. This suite of 10 original compositions and the atmosphere of this record may change that. They represent the better side of human life acts of passion, courage, conviction, love, persistence, heart, etc dedicated to figures who have inspired American pianist Arriale including Greta Thunberg, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman and Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai soul. Joined by bassist Alon Near (hear him to best effect on the Jarrettonian 'Heart') and drummer Lukasz Zyta there's a lot of grandeur in the chordal architecture of the pieces led off by the epic 'Courage'. Arriale beyond sheer technique finds the, if you like, spiritual Bill Evans parts of the keyboard few can ever unlock and so you get on 'Love' a luminous dreamworld that recalls just what Evans was able to achieve (the piece is reprised at the end with dubbed-in choral vocal effects). There is an anthemic sense too to this fine record and you get that on the sturdy, hooky, motifs of 'Faith'. There's room for some experimentation which crops up on 'Curiosity' and, live, surely this piece has room to be developed a whole deal. And on Being Human too there is room for a more down home sense on 'Soul' while 'Persistance' is more driving and finds a McCoy Tyner sense of strength to the projection of the piece. Later 'Joy' summons thoughts of the passion of an Abdullah Ibrahim foray at the keys. All in all then a very special kind of record that summons all the resources that Arriale has at her disposal, from composition to performance, deep immersion in the language of jazz piano and a trio that allows everything, beat, groove and pulse, to break through and shine.

Out on 1 March. Lynne Arriale, photo: Joe Montezinos. The Lynne Arriale Trio are in London on 8 and 9 April for dates at Pizza Express Jazz Club

Tags: Reviews

Marlena Shaw dies at the age of 81

Soul and jazz singer Marlena Shaw has died at the age of 81, her death confirmed by Shaw's daughter on her Facebook page. Famed for her much sampled version of Ashford and Simpson's ‘California Soul’ on her 1969 album The Spice of Life, Shaw was …

Published: 20 Jan 2024. Updated: 4 months.

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Soul and jazz singer Marlena Shaw has died at the age of 81, her death confirmed by Shaw's daughter on her Facebook page. Famed for her much sampled version of Ashford and Simpson's ‘California Soul’ on her 1969 album The Spice of Life, Shaw was born in New York State and signed to Chess Records in 1966 remaining a recording artist for decades. She was a frequent visitor to UK clubs, particularly London's Jazz Cafe and Ronnie Scott's. RIP