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Best Jazz Recording of 2022 Spotlight: Lynne Arriale Trio/The Lights Are Always On/ Challenge Records


The Lights Are Always On is a superb recording by Lynne Arriale. The veteran jazz pianist is joined by her current trio of drummer E.J. Strickland and bassist Jasper Somsen. The recording marks Arriale's 16th as a leader and her third release with this trio. And, having listened to her recordings for decades, it is my pick for the best jazz recording of 2022.

Lynne Arriale's latest release honors those whose courage stands out during the multiple health and political emergencies in the world during the last few years. Highlights of the recording include "The Lights are Always On", inspired by Dr. Prakash Gatta, an esophageal and robotic surgeon in Tacoma, Washington. As Arriale explains on her website, “This collection was inspired by the doctor and all front-line health care workers. For me, Dr. Gatta crystallized the workers’ heroism; each day bearing the risk of personal infection, and enduring the emotional toll of staggering caseloads presented by this global crisis. Nevertheless, the doctor said, ‘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.’ ”

Other album highlights include "Honor"(dedicated to Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman) , "The Notorius RBG"(dedicated to Ruth Bader Ginsburg) "Into The Breach"(Inspired by the events of 1/6/21)" and "Walk in My Shoes"(dedicated to John Lewis).

Lynne Arriale, a pianist, composer and jazz educator, is one of the foremost voices on the instrument in the international jazz scene. Earning a master’s degree in classical music from the University of Wisconsin in her 20’s, learning a Thelonious Monk song led her to play jazz. Arriale started her own trio in 1992, and since that time has released a series of consistently satisfying records. The depth of her skill has brought her many awards including winning first prize in the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, and participating in the 100 Golden Fingers Tour in Japan, where she performed with Tommy Flanagan, Hank Jones, Monty Alexander, Cedar Walton, Kenny Barron, Harold Mabern, Roger Kellaway, Junior Mance and Ray Bryant. She has also performed on concert stages worldwide for over thirty years.

Other Lynne Arriale recordings you might enjoy:

Chimes of Freedom

Give Us These Days



Nuance – The Bennett Studio Sessions

Lynne Arriale Trio Live (DVD/CD set)(Highly recommended!!)

For more information about Lynne Arriale and her many recordings, you may visit

Chris Cooke has been a voice on public radio in Omaha since 1989. Working at KVNO-FM during college, Cooke hosted a weekend progressive jazz show on the station in addition to working as an on-air announcer. In November 1992, Cooke signed on at KIOS-FM and has been there ever since. He has hosted the Tuesday and Thursday editions of Jazz in the Afternoon since 1996 and has hosted Last Call since that year. A long time fan of jazz music, Cooke enjoys talking with the musicians who make jazz music and presenting those conversations with listeners. When not hosting or listening to jazz, on record or in person, Cooke maintains a busy schedule as a self-employed web design consultant.