The jazz pianist and UW-Madison alum visits for a trio show. Info/tix
In one of its biggest pulls since reopening in its new location on Willy Street, Café Coda hosts renowned jazz pianist Lynne Arriale in a homecoming of sorts—she earned her undergraduate degree at UW-Madison—in a trio with bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Greg Artry, both of Chicago. This makes a fitting setting for Arriale to perform material from her May release Give Us These Days, whose tracks frequently cycle through themes of nostalgia, longing, and their messy intersections with the present.
Throughout the record, Arriale, currently a professor at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, alternates between playing songs that recall the past, including songs from Joni Mitchell and The Beatles, and others that embody the present. The former comes on those covers, but also originals like the aptly-named "Finding Home." This is where Arriale and her trio members bring influences to mind like Bill Evans' Trio—the melodies come and go like the wind, never overstaying their welcome, and the interplay between Arriale, bassist Jasper Somsen, and drummer Jasper Van Hulten defines the songs. On "Finding Home," the trio creates overtones of comfort, and on Mitchell's "Woodstock," they dig into shades of regret.
But on tracks like "Appassionata," Arriale captures the tumult of the present and demonstrates more explicitly why she has received the accolades she has across 14 albums and countless performances around the world. The center of these songs are Arriale's keys—in some segments slowly building tension and atmosphere and in others capitalizing on it with powerful chords and flurries of notes. It's a record that seems well-suited to the dynamic and ever-bombarding diseases and anxieties of the present. —Henry Solo