Lynn Arriale


Solo Motema/In+Out Records****

When it’s done right, solo piano can be about as intimate and revealing as improvised music gets, and celebrated American pianist Lynne Arriale gets its so right here it’s almost indecent. Better known for leading her own trios and quartets, this is her first foray into the solo space and, to her credit, she is not trying to make any grand statements about the music or the instrument. Rather this is a quiet, personal testament, imbued with warmth and a delight in melody that is missing in the muscle-bound thunderings of many of her peers.

The tunes are a balance of the pianist’s own engaging originals and some choice standards, ranging from Monk and Cole Porter to Billy Joel and Lerner and Lowe, and she approaches them almost shyly, like a child sidling up to the keyboard when no-one’s looking. Tender and introspective, like a book of poems, it’s the sort of record that will give up its secrets slowly, over many listenings.