Arriale's inspirations are fairly clear: she is a firm disciple of Bill Evans and of pianists he inspired, such as Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea. From Evans she took a lyrical yet rhythmically muscular approach to melody, but also an interactive conceptualization of the jazz piano trio. Although she stays firmly in command, she works interactively with her fellow musicians in a manner that allows the music to breathe in between the instruments. Over the years she has used a number of fine bass players, but Steve David has consistently been her drummer. He is a dazzling percussionist, equally at home keeping straight time with his brushes and roaring through complex multiple rhythms with sticks, but he never overwhelms the other instruments.
This trio is firmly founded in the mainstream modern jazz tradition, but Arriale likes to reshape familiar tunes in a personal manner. She will take a Thelonious Monk composition like "Evidence" and slow it down, so that it reveals new qualities and a novel melodic pace. Just as often, she will play her own songs, and her compositional skills have obviously developed over the years, as is documented on her eight albums. She has been to Ann Arbor before and has developed a local following. She returns on Thursday, May 13, to help the Firefly Club celebrate its fourth birthday.
[Originally published in May, 2004.]