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08 April 2022
"... Lynne Arriale shines more with musical qualities, namely superb melody and rhythmic sovereignty..."Pianonews, 29-8-2022
The Lights Are Always On is pianist/composer Lynne Arriale’s 16th album as leader, and her third recording on Challenge Records International. Lynne’s original music is a suite of compositions that reflect the world-wide, life-changing events of the past two years. Several of the pieces are named in honor of heroes around the world, including those who served as caregivers on the front lines of the COVID pandemic and as defenders of democracy.
On this session Lynne is joined by bassist/co-producer Jasper Somsen and drummer E.J. Strickland, both outstanding, in-demand musicians on the international jazz scene. The trio creates the sort of engrossing musical conversation that has become a trademark of Lynne’s groups.
Lynne’s ten original, highly evocative compositions begin with the persistent Afro-Cuban influenced “March On,” a tribute to activists worldwide. “The Lights Are Always On” features a lyrical melody in perpetual motion; the foundation of a thematic arc that soars over the entire piece. It is followed by the jubilant, gospel-influenced “Sisters.” Lynne’s dedication to Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, “Honor,” is the melding of two engaging melodic ideas; each reinforcing the other. Together they convey the heroic character and unwavering strength of this American patriot. “Loved Ones” expresses joyful appreciation for those who are precious to us.
The set continues with “Sounds Like America,” where Lynne creates an optimistic melody and solo, culminating in a celebratory chordal finish. “The Notorious RBG,” is an exuberant dedication to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, assertively propelled by drummer E.J. Strickland. Following that, Lynne and Jasper deftly navigate the angular harmonic construction of “Into the Breach,” Lynne’s ominous remembrance of the January 6th Insurrection and the heroes that saved democracy on that day. “Walk in My Shoes,” a dedication to civil rights icon John Lewis, reflects the tenacity and strength of this remarkable leader. Lynne begins her solo with two motivic statements, which she skillfully integrates into a cohesive, powerful performance. The album concludes with “Heroes”, a heartfelt ballad composed in recognition of those who enlightened a very dark period in our history, and who embody the greatest humanistic virtues of mankind.
The title of the project was inspired by Dr. Prakash Gada, an esophageal and robotic surgeon in Tacoma, Washington. Lynne explained, “This collection was inspired by the doctor and all front-line health care workers. For me, Dr. Gada crystallized the workers’ heroism; each day bearing the risk of personal infection, and enduring the emotional toll of staggering caseloads presented by this global crisis. Nevertheless, the doctor said, ‘Here I am back at work after COVID...I fled Kuwait after the invasion. No matter what happens, no one works at home. The lights are always on. Babies are being born; bones are being set. This hospital, this profession…..we are in a league of our own; we’ll take care of you, I promise. I stand next to the most fearless people I have ever seen.’ ”
“Dr. Gada’s words deeply moved me and evoked memories of 9/11. In the aftermath of that attack, I remembered the rescue workers who ran into the towers without hesitation or concern for their personal safety, and thought, ‘Who are these angels?’ Clearly, the angels of our time are Dr. Gada and all health care workers, professionals and volunteers alike, who battle COVID-19.
“Dr. Gada’s ‘lights’ illuminate hospitals and emergency care facilities. But there is also spiritual light in the humanity, compassion, and courage of Dr. Gada and all our angels; shining brightly and eternally, even in the midst of devastation and loss.”
“There is always reason to believe in that light; the inherent goodness of people. It shines in those leaders who spoke truth to power and stood up for what is right. They changed the world, often jeopardizing their careers, and in some cases, their lives.
“In appreciation of these heroes I offer this musical tribute. It is dedicated to our loved ones, and to our better angels; those who embrace truth, compassion, and inclusivity, and reject selfishness, lies, and hatred. It also acknowledges the marchers, my beautiful sisters worldwide, and the heroes of science and medicine who have sacrificed so much.
"The album also expresses my special admiration for the character of Representative John Lewis, Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the patriots of the Capitol Police who stepped into the breach risking their lives to defend our elected representatives and our democracy during the January 6, 2021 Insurrection.”
... Lynne Arriale shines more with musical qualities, namely superb melody and rhythmic sovereignty...
The American Lynne Arriale has been one of the great poets on the piano for decades...
The Lights Are Always On" is a record that can be read on many levels. Without any arrogance or pomposity, energetic and determined at the same time,...
... Her music has something refreshing, unforeseen, not predictable. It is these fluid changes of color, these fleeting shadings in sound, these quiet, delicate, lyrical conquests of space that inspire...
In this album, she also wants to believe in the hope and in the goodness of the people... To this end, the trio delivers us an intimate, classy jazz from which the rough edges are absent and where the muffled side is the obvious line of conduct... This is therefore easy listening jazz from which sometimes emerges a bit of melodic pop which is reminiscent of the efficient side of Elton John.
... The modal develops a powerful pull with her, the harmonic goes refined ways ... Positive power that does justice to the pathos of the message.
Don’t worry: you can enjoy this delightful album without any political knowledge. It is a subtle form of art that speaks to the heart with an optimistic, upbeat undertone.
Radio Dreyeckland, 05-6-2022
...the latest and most compelling album of Arriale’s career...
... On The Lights Are Always On the music flows much more calmly, it seems anthemic in a certain way, also peppered with influences from gospel...
... Lynne Arriale freed herself through perseverance, straightforwardness and focus: the covers of her albums have also looked like they were made of one piece for years...
Sometimes albums based on contemporaneous events or individuals are a slog to get through. But Arriale has developed the music with the listener in mind and it is a welcome addition to the genre.
The New York City Jazz Record, 20-5-2022
It is a personal, honest and passionate album.
Le Soir Belgique, 04-5-2022
The title number salutes frontline workers who labor(ed) throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with the kind of upliftingly melodic lilt so often characterizing her compositions.
Shepherd Express, 28-4-2022
Like the aptly titled “Sounds Like America”—do I hear Copland?—it’s imbued with strains of folkish Americana, melodies that Arriale effectively voices, unravels, and then puts back together again.
Arialle’s powerful rhythmic integrity and innovating improvisations drive this compelling anthem. Jasper Somsen’s lyrical bass solo generates beauty and peace while E.J. Strickland’s creative and dynamic-filled drumming seals the deal.
The WholeNote, 22-4-2022
The result is a powerful collection of songs performed by a like-minded trio of depth and musicality.
Jazz Sensibilities, 20-4-2022
After so many years of experience, her playing is rich, broad and subtle and technically of a high level.
Arriale starts her solo gently before arching into a series of pentatonic figures and quick motifs that shift around the chords. Strickland is interactive, and together the trio builds a beautiful solo for Arriale.
C.U.R. Jazz, 12-4-2022
She achieves a special, deep connection with her audience, and the energy flows both ways. Arriale’s emotional authenticity allows her audience to feel and think along with her.
Arriale’s finely attuned and powerful playing and arrangements eloquently expanded upon the implications of those verses by two of our nation’s supreme songwriters.
Arriale’s tunes are deeply melodic, and her piano touch is pure, swinging, and makes use of “space,” much like Tommy Flanagan, and Hank Jones.
Audiophile Audition - Lynne Arriale Trio, 26-3-2022
The power of this album lies in the imperceptible communication between these three artists.
Paris Move, 06-3-2022