Poster Lynne Arriale
Jazz pianist Lynne Arriale headlines MetroNOME Brewery's musical gala.
Andrea Canter

Jazz pianist Lynne Arriale headlines MetroNOME Brewery gala

When jazz pianist Lynne Arriale learned about the musical mission of St. Paul’s MetroNOME Brewery, she reached out to co-founder Bill Eddins to inquire about a possible alliance. That fortuitous connection resulted in Arriale’s starring role in MetroNOME’s gala weekend May 3-5.

man in tux stands by brewery tanks
Bill Eddins

“Lynne just sent me her information; I was intrigued, I gave her a call,” said Eddins, the conductor and educator extraordinaire who co-founded the brewery in 2020. “When she heard about what we’re trying to do at MetroNOME, she was very enthusiastic and offered to significantly reduce her fee.”

The brewery’s objective to provide music education for children of all socio-economic backgrounds resonated with Arriale’s mission as a musician and teacher.

“My whole goal in playing music is to reach out to people on a very personal, emotional level,” she said. “That to me is the reason for art.

“It’s my hope that they will feel the love coming through the music. That’s really what this is all about.”

Arriale’s own music education began as a preschooler, when she would play songs by ear — particularly from the Broadway musical records her mother played. She studied classical music all through school and earned a master’s degree at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, studying with pianist Rebecca Penneys. But her musical life took a turn at an expected moment.

“I had an epiphany while walking down the street one day; I heard a voice in my head that said, ‘You should study jazz,’” she said. “I didn’t know what jazz was. I didn’t know that it was improvised music.

“I took a lesson with a teacher at the conservatory, Tony King, who showed me a copy of Round Midnight, by Thelonius Monk. He said to play this and make up melodies over the left-hand harmony. And I did and I looked at him and I said, ‘Are you kidding? I get to do this? Is this what jazz is?’

“My life changed — I was drawn to the freedom in jazz.  We can play a song many times in a row, and it will be very different each time, because we are improvising new melodies over the chord changes. And this was a revelation to me.”

She added that she was further won over by “the limitless possibilities to create in front of a live audience, which is a magical experience, and I think the audience feels that.”

Indeed, jazz has been good to Arriale, a Milwaukee native who is a professor of jazz studies and director of small ensembles at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. She has won awards (including first prize at the Great American Jazz Piano Competition), toured the country and world extensively (she recently returned from two weeks in Europe) and recorded 17 albums.

Her most recent recording, Being Human, features pieces with such titles as “Love,” “Faith” and “Courage.”

“I wrote this music in response to the divisions in our country,” she said. “The music is meant to convey a message of unity and hope, and I explored the different qualities we all share in common as human beings — passion, courage, persistence, love.”

The album’s songs are dedicated to people who have inspired her with these qualities, including climate activist Greta Thunberg, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman and Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai.

Arriale’s trio (including bassist Chris Bates and drummer Adam Nussbaum) “absolutely” plans to play these selections in her MetroNOME concerts (May 4 as the evening’s showcase performance and May 5 in a gala event that also includes dinner).

The pieces will be quite fitting for the venue, as the brewery was started by Eddins and Matt Engstrom, a musician, engineer and brewing hobbyist, as a response to the civic unrest that engulfed the Twin Cities after the murder of George Floyd.

Through donations and sales of its bespoke beers (including Jam Session Lingonberry Sour, Enigma Double Brown English Ale and Coal Porter), the MetroNOME Foundation sponsors local organizations that share its goals of providing musical instruments, lessons and education to kids “as a gateway to a better, more fulfilling life,” as its mission statement puts it.

The brewery has hosted more than 390 performances and music-related events, most featuring local musicians and more than half of which have been free to the public.

Jazz pianist Lynne Arriale headline's MetroNOME Brewery's musical gala.
Lynne Arriale

“[Bill] Eddins is a brilliant musician, and the fact that he has created this incredible environment for music is really a remarkable accomplishment,” Arriale said. “And he works tirelessly to bring music to the community.”

Arriale also will aid in Eddins’ cause by teaching a master class for Twin Cities high school students on May 4, in which she’ll demonstrate improvisation techniques and discuss her process.

“I love working with young students and introducing them to jazz and improvisation,” she said.

As for the concerts, she said, “I want to engage them from the first note we play to the last note we play, take them on a journey through many different emotions and different sounds and melodies they can feel and relate to.

“I spend a lot of time refining my compositions to create melodies that hopefully touch people and have them feel the emotion behind the music.”

The musical lineup also includes these free events: the Green Line Quintet (May 3); St. Paul Conservatory of Music showcase (May 4); Center for Irish Music session (May 5); MN Hard Bop Collective Student Sit-In (May 5); and an open jam session to close out the weekend (May 5). A silent auction also will be on display throughout the weekend.

Love the music?

Donate by phone

Show your support by making a gift to YourClassical.

Each day, we’re here for you with thoughtful streams that set the tone for your day – not to mention the stories and programs that inspire you to new discovery and help you explore the music you love.

YourClassical is available for free, because we are listener-supported public media. Take a moment to make your gift today.

More Ways to Give

Your Donation