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Lynne Arriale The Lights Are Always On Review

by April 12, 2022

Lynne Arriale The Lights Are Always On Review

lynne-arriale-coverLynne Arriale is a jazz pianist and composer that has been a part of the jazz scene for the past 30 years. Jazz Police called her “the poet laureate of her generation,” and she has been consistently praised as having a “singular voice” as a pianist, bandleader, and composer. JazzTimes wrote, “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 won the Great American Jazz Piano Competition and has fifteen critically acclaimed albums as a leader. Arriale has performed at major international festivals, including Montreux, Burghausen, Gilmore, Spoleto Arts, Montreal, Monterey, North Sea, Stuttgart, Pori, San Francisco, Ottawa, Zagreb, Perth, Brisbane, Rouen, Sardinia, Rochester, Wigan, Poznan, Estoril, Inverness, Cork, and San Javier. In addition, she toured Japan with “100 Golden Fingers” with Tommy Flanagan, Hank Jones, Monty Alexander, Cedar Walton, Kenny Barron, Harold Mabern, Roger Kellaway, Junior Mance, and Ray Bryant.

About the Album

The Lights Are Always On is Arriale’s 16th album as a leader and her third recording on Challenge Records International. For this album, she presents original music in a suite of compositions that reflect the worldwide, life-changing events of the past two years. Several of the pieces are named in honor of heroes worldwide, including those who served as caregivers on the front lines of the COVID pandemic and as defenders of democracy. She is accompanied by bassist/co-producer Jasper Somsen and drummer E.J. Strickland.

Our Favorite Tracks

“March On” is an Afro-Cuban-influenced composition that opens the album and is a tribute to activists worldwide. Thelynne-arriale-2 ascending chordal pattern builds energy as Strickland and Somsen provide a whole supportive feel for Aririale. Aririale 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.

The album concludes with “Heroes,” a heartfelt ballad composed to recognize those who enlightened a very dark period in our history and embody the greatest humanistic virtues of humankind. The trio expresses the emotion of heroism, channeling the gratitude for those bearing the risk of personal infection and enduring the emotional toll of staggering caseloads presented by this global crisis. Arriale expresses what Dr. Prakash Gada said to her, ‘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.” This emotion comes across in the relaxed and reflective melody of “Heroes.”

In Conclusion

lynne-arriale-1The Lights Are Always On is a joyful and personal musical journey under the clever direction of Aririale. She states, “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.” Music is always an excellent conduit for the emotions of a period. Though Aririale cites many troubling events as inspiration for this music, the prevailing sentiment is the message of hope, love, and unity for ALL.



Lynne Arriale


The Lights Are Always On


March On
The Lights Are Always On
Honor (dedicated to Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman)
Loved Ones
Sounds Like America
The Notorious RBG (dedicated to Ruth Bader Ginsburg)
Into the Breach
Walk in My Shoes (dedicated to John Lewis)


Challenge Records International

Release Date

April 8, 2022

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