LYNNE ARRIALE TRIO at Top o' the Senator, March 2. Tickets: $15. Attendance: 100. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNNN
there's something truly re- markable about watching improv jazz, at least when it's played by pros like New York's Lynne Arriale Trio, who hosted the Senator last week.
After stating the melody of a given composition in a handful of bars, the three -- pianist Arriale, stand-up bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Steve Davis -- simply went off, unspooling explosive lines that converged at song's end but seemed to visit every emotion in the interim. As with all special skills, they made composing on the spot look easy when you know damn well it's not, but nothing about their performance felt clinical.
With eyes shut in trance-like concentration for most of the set, Anderson cut an interesting figure, plucking out wild runs before nestling back into the groove sketched out by Arriale, whose passionate solos, though technically precise, betrayed a devotion to melody.
No less stunning the following night was Danny Michel while opening the second of two sold-out shows with Sarah Harmer at the Music Hall. When he hit the stage alone with his guitar at 8:10, Michel faced a half-empty house. Not for long. Diving into stuff from his Fibsville disc and pending new release, the former Starling member, as usual, had the crowd laughing out loud one minute and straining to hear his lyrics the next. By the time he finished, bums were in every seat.
Michel is going to be star -- see for yourself when he performs tonight (Thursday, March 8) at the Rivoli. It's only a matter of time.