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Con­ver­gence (Motéma Mu­sic)

Con­ver­gence takes off in a steam­ing hot, straight-ahead groove with the song “El­e­ments.” Pi­anist Lynne Ar­ri­ale has the lead, with ac­com­plished sup­port from bassist Omer Avi­tal and drum­mer An­thony Pin­ciotti. “Here and Now,” an­other Ar­ri­ale com­po­si­tion, adds the tenor sax­o­phon­ist Bill McHenry, who has the reins in the first half. Ar­ri­ale takes a solo, and by the time McHenry comes back, they’ve worked up into pas­sion­ate, com­plex ter­ri­tory. This is fine jazz work for Ar­ri­ale, who has recorded 11 al­bums since her 1993 de­but The Eyes Have It. The new disc (her sec­ond quar­tet record­ing af­ter spe­cial­iz­ing in trio work for 15 years) fea­tures six Ar­ri­ale songs and five cov­ers from the rock/pop realm — these were cho­sen be­cause “there was a com­pelling story or feel­ing in each tune that in­spired me to cre­ate a new in­ter­pre­ta­tion,” ac­cord­ing to her liner notes. The first is a fine ver­sion of The Bea­tles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” Ar­ri­ale tak­ing the gor­geous melody apart and play­ing with it im­pro­vi­sa­tion­ally. Also here are songs that were first per­formed by Sting, Blondie, The Rolling Stones, and Nine Inch Nails (an in­trigu­ing take on “Some­thing I Can Never Have”). The ti­tle song is an­other post-bop mover, al­though per­haps a bit heavy­handed. In the disc’s cen­ter are a cou­ple of high­lights by the leader: “Dance of the Rain,” fea­tur­ing Avi­tal on oud, and the lush, spir­i­tual “For Peace.”

— Paul Wei­de­man

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