Lynne Arriale

 

Lynne Arriale's visit to Old Belvedere last Wedenesday for the Dublin Jazz Society offered a chance to hear one of the best of the outstanding current crop of young American pianists.

If conditions were not ideal - she had to perform on a modest upright when, in fact, she should have had at least a baby grand, with the result that there was some loss of detail - the evening had more than its share of satisfying moments.

Chief among them were the ballads. She is such a sensitive performer that her lyricism is perhaps most affecting on slow tunes, but she also has the priceless gift of taking the familiar and discovering fresh possibilities.

One such was a magical Wouldn't It Be Luverly, normally a bright tempo piece, but here treated with almost Shirley Horn-like slowness in a stand-out performance recasting all its elements into something deeper and more resonant than the original. But there were others, like the late Jimmy Rowles's masterpiece, The Peacocks, I Loves You Porgy, Where Or When and her own Letters From Mike O'Brien, which came close to this calibre. And she again confounded expectations by turning Loch Lomond into a lovely ballad, replete with one of the most melodic piano solos I've ever heard.

A brilliant Night In Tunisia, Woody'n You and the quirks of Thelonious Monk's Bye Ya and Think Of One showed her ability to juggle superbly with time, a fact reinforced from the start with the delightfully oblique transformation of Bye Bye Blackbird.