By Dave Cantor | Published March 2020
Opening with “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” sets a pensive, but hopeful, tone as Lynne Arriale pours out emotion on the superbly plotted Chimes Of Freedom.
Turning in her 15th album as a leader, pianist Arriale continues working in a trio setting, this time splicing in drummer E.J. Strickland and bassist Jasper Somsen for her first band that straddles the Atlantic. But like her earlier work, Arriale exerts a series of tasteful flourishes and embellishments around each composition’s melody, touching on the blues for “The Whole Truth,” feeling out a gospel vibe on “Reunion” and delving into some vibrant swing and bop for “Journey.”
“[W]hat are all the colors that can go under a note that would make it work?” Arriale wondered in a September 2009 DownBeat story while discussing her writing process. “Then you have a huge palette to work from. It can take me a long time to write an arrangement, because I’m not thinking theoretically; I’m thinking, how does this sound? How does it feel when I listen to it?”
On “The Dreamers,” Strickland is so tastefully busy and full of playfulness that it’s easy to lose sight of how phenomenally Arriale’s leading her group, everything perfectly accented with behind-the-beat chording. The inclusion of vocalist K.J. Denhert on a pair of tunes by Bob Dylan and Paul Simon as Chimes Of Freedom comes to its conclusion cements the album’s theme of hope and an embrace of difference, even if sonically, it’s a bit of a distraction.