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Lynne Arriale: Better Late Than Ever

Jeff Tamarkin profiles the gifted pianist whose latest album Convergence mixes originals with unusual covers

Bill McHenry, Lynne Arriale, Omer Avital and Anthony Pinciotti
Lynne Arriale

You know all those stories about musicians who hear jazz at a very young age and suddenly realize that making this music is why they were put on this Earth? This is not one of them. Lynne Arriale did not dream about playing jazz when she was barely tall enough to reach the piano keys. Although she began studying the instrument around the time she was in kindergarten, and has always made her living playing and teaching music, Arriale had almost zero exposure to jazz until she was in her mid-20s.

“I may have heard an hour of it before that and I didn’t get it,” says Arriale, 53, from her Jacksonville, Fla., home. “But I didn’t know it was improvised music. I didn’t have a clue.”

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