As a composer and interpreter of modern jazz, pianist Arriale is blossoming more and more with every passing day. She's open to stretching melodies, interacting with her very talented trio, and tackling new challenges. For this, her fifth CD, all trio sides, she, bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Steve Davis present three Irish influenced Arriale originals, ballads, and standards that further explore the hushed tones, airy refrains, and delicately constructed music that is her hallmark. On the romantic side, Arriale melts walls and hearts with her after-midnight takes on "But Beautiful" and "Touch Her Sweet Lips And Part." When she's in this molasses-slow mode, her playing is distinctly like no other. Patient as a lonely, wanting lover for "The Forgotten Ones," Davis wields mallets on drums, as though walking through a rain forest, while Arriale fastidiously searches for clues to the scavenger hunt. The folk melody/children's song "Hush-A-Bye" has the pianist paraphrasing perhaps the simplest melody written with aplomb and stoic grace. The Celtic-influenced songs contrast beautifully; "Turning" a 3/4 to 4/4 jig-to-bop exchange, "Dance" is just that, with Davis doing the steps with his chattering sticks, and the showstopper "The Highlands" is a popping, extroverted, sensational number that shows Arriale does have a more hectic side. "It Ain't Necessarily So" might be a bit of an anomaly to the rest of the selections, a swinging, light groove version replete with dynamic accents and variations that make the old tried-and-true Gershwin melody sing and cry out. The other well-known composition, "Beautiful Love," has a free intro which merges into a midtempo head, the pianist and drummer trading eights effortlessly in the middle. Arriale is a most gifted pianist, probably the closest thing we have in the '90s to Bill Evans in terms of subtlety and depth. Hard to judge this against her other trio CDs, they're all very good, and any will be a welcome addition to your collection.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos