Words like eloquence, emotional energy, melodic riches are phrases heaped on the piano performances of Lynne Arriale with her trio of longtime rhythm mates Steve Davis on drums and Jay Anderson on bass. The trio is celebrating 10 successful years together and they return to the Jazz Kitchen Friday, June 3 for two shows at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.
Lynne Arriale performs two shows at the Jazz Kitchen on Friday, June 3.
Arriale has just completed an extensive European tour and returned last week to her home outside Nashville, Ind. Like her approach to playing, she was open and honest in giving us this interview about her views on today's state of jazz.
NUVO: European audiences and music lovers treat jazz and its performers as superstars compared to audiences in the U.S. Do you think the States listeners are musically dumbing down?
Arriale: I don't find that. I actually find our audiences are growing. I think there is a resurgence for the love of jazz. I think it's important due to people like Diana Krall and other people who have popularized the American Songbook. Rod Stewart just did an album of some standards; there's a whole new generation of young people who are getting familiar with these excellent, wonderful tunes.
NUVO: Are singers like Tony Bennett to Michael Bublé having an impact on listeners and saving jazz?
Arriale: I think so, definitely. People gravitate to things that are familiar. If you heard the music of George Gershwin or whether you heard it from Tony Bennett, Rod Stewart or Diana Krall, and then you hear an instrumental version, it becomes the pop music.
NUVO: The late legendary jazz saxophonist Lester "Prez" Young stated that he always learned the lyrics to a standard before he would play it. Does that apply to you?
Arriale: Absolutely, because if we don't know the lyrics it kind of becomes an arbitrary way of playing the song. I want the people to hear the lyrics in their mind, that's incredibly important. It tells us how to phrase the tune.
NUVO: Do you sing the lyrics as you play as some jazz pianists, like Peterson or Jarrett, do?
Arriale: I sing away from the piano. I sing the lyrics of a song before I touch the piano so that I can give it as human and vocal an interpretation as possible. I want to keep that singing inside when I play so that people will hear the singing through the fingers.
NUVO: Who are some of the young promising jazz pianists you have heard?
Arriale: There are so many gifted young musicians. The interesting thing is to see where any of them will be in 10 or 20 years. Will they develop, will they be given the opportunity not to just be a quick rising star but someone who really develops their craft and their own voice?
Surprisingly, Arriale is a devout fan of James Taylor. "When I hear his voice, it's just so beautiful and pure in its sentiments, lyrics and melodies. It just really touches my heart." The same can be said of Lynne Arriale when her fingers touch the piano keys and tell magnificent musical stories.
* Popular electric violinist Cathy Morris will kick off the Indiana History Center Concerts on the Canal series Thursday. Morris will feature her five-piece Latin band playing Latin classics and Brazilian jazz from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Optional reserved table seating is available for a table of four at $20 or $15 for IHS members, or eight at $30 or $25 for IHS members.
* Jazz balladeer Larry Greene & Friends will be featured at the monthly Sunday Jazz Brunch June 5 at the Madame Walker Theatre Center from 1 to 5 p.m. $15 admission includes the Sunday buffet.
* Larry Michael's Conga Jazz will play Thursday at Brix's in Zionsville from 7:30 to 10 p.m.
* Billy Wooten & Friends perform at The House Cafe in the Glendale Mall Thursday from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.