Born: May 11, 1962 Primary Instrument: Piano
Pianist/composer Pamela Hines has been a prolific and consistent presence in the world of jazz. Her creative stamina has established her as an artist who presents to her audiences a newness, individuality and freshness that have made her piano style and originals identifiable. She has received critical acclaim for edgy instrumental compositions and originals for jazz vocalists that are more at home in the modern American Songbook.
New release! 3.2.1. features a trio of Hines, Dave Clark (b) and Yoron Israel (d). The trio gets right into high energy percussive interaction with 34 Skidoo by Bill Evans. The set continues into exciting trio and duo tunes then ends with a solo ballad. Brent Black writes in Critical Jazz, Preconceived notions and running out of coffee are the Achilles heel for most critics. I have to admit that having reviewed over 50 piano trios in the past year... Pamela Hines and her latest release 3.2.1 are proof positive that one should never judge a book by it's cover. Standards may be the backbone but with stellar arrangements and Yoron Israel on drums and Dave Clark on bass and they are on point every step of the way. While having never seen Pamela Hines live it would not be reaching to say her skills at the piano bench are key in making what could be an ordinary yet talented trio recording into an extraordinary and highly entertaining trio. Thanks to the dynamite arrangements here it is easy to imagine Hines working group as a real ensemble and not Hines working as a potted plant with bass and drums. Hines tackles two Bill Evans covers but not a riff on the legendary harmonic master instead she would simply seem to allow Evans harmonic influence to guide her harmonic sense of purpose as she establishes her own distinct artistic voice. While Evans was more of a two handed pianist than most realize, Hines has taken to a slightly more organic approach, contemporary yet old school in nature. The Evans tunes 34 Skidoo along with B Minor Waltz and Loose Blues are reborn and a reminder of what true artistic interpretation is all about. This particular trio has an all most live quality to this recording, especially with the solo standard of I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry. For the curious the aptly titled 3.2.1 refers to the combination of performances here with trio, duo and solo arrangements making this top of the line piano jazz. As a composer for vocalists, Hines hits on the cerebral as her compositions are complex yet they are deceptively accessible. Clark is a first call lyrical bassist and Yoron Israel rounds off an impressive rhythm section with finesse and the ability to play musical conductor without every overshadowing Clark or Hines. Far more than a human metronome, Israel is a driving force in the lyrical excursion Hines takes on 3.2.1 To be perfectly honest, piano trios have become tired, predictable and in some cases down right boring with the same handful of artists running through the same set list of standards with no real lasting effect. Hines is an artist that has the gift of a natural and incredibly organic ebb and flow and 3.2.1 is exceptional on virtually every level. ...
Susan Frances, JazzTimes.com, November,says ... Hines exhibits an intuitive nature when it comes to punctuating her notes and making distinctive accents that intensify the mood of her music. Her new CD, This Heart Of Mine is a collection of original tunes and covers that demonstrate her ability to mold expressive vignettes and bridge her vamps and counterpoints... Her notations depict her emotions even as she covers compositions written by Cole Porter and Duke Ellington. At times, her sequences are embroiling, and at other moments they exhibit a serenity along the ruminations. Hines’ playing creates an imaginary world as she looms cascading falls and melodic swells in the piano keys producing settings which are conducive for deep contemplation and transition into unbridled fun around the corner. She travels through a gamut of musical ideas that honor the giants in jazz while infusing harmonious style changes in American standards.
Hines’ interpretation of Duke Ellington’s number “Reflections In D” shimmers with the glossy resonance of a harp as she merges the ambling riffs with fringes of moonlight-embossed strokes inspired by John Lennon’s “Across The Universe.” ...closing the album with Ralph Towner’s “Icarus” giving the illusion that her piano keys are gently flying through the air.
Artists often say that they play with passion and it shows with Pamela Hines. She wears that passion on her sleeves as her notes depict what she is going through like an autobiography set to music. This Heart Of Mine bares pieces of Hines’ soul even as she covers other artists works making their material a reflection of herself.
On 2007 release, Return:
By Dan McClenaghan
You could call Pamela Hines a mainstream pianist, but that word “mainstream” suggests a limiting category and might draw a rather static map and restrict your expectations. What's the old rule of semantics? The map is not the territory. Or how about: the category is not the sound.
While Hines, on this (mostly) trio outing, fits into the mainstream category, she freshens up the approach and makes it sound as vital and boundary-stretching today as Bill Evans did throughout his career.
The pianist is joined on Return by bassist John Lockwood and drummer Bob Gullotti, the team that made their previous disc, Drop 2 (Spice Rack, 2006), such a success. This is piano trio in the Bill Evans mode: interactive and democratic, plying its seamless teamwork through a set of classic tunes that haven't been over-worked in the jazz canon: the tender and indescribably lovely “I'm Through With Love” (Kahn/Malneck/Livingston), Cedar Walton's “Ojos de Rojo, Rodger and Hart's “My Heart Stood Still.”
Hines' style is characterized by complex harmonies and an often zingy, lyrical melodicism, and a deft touch with dynamics that gives new breath to the non-originals on the disc. But Hines is also a prolific and skilled composer, slipping in three tunes of her own—”Return,” “Very,” and “Ward One”—that rise above the covers.
The highlight on Drop 2 was the trio's take on The Beatles' “I Will,” one of Paul McCartney's prettiest melodies—and a seemingly unlikely vehicle for a jazz outing. The highlights on Return are any one of the Hines originals, two of which—the title tune and “Very”—feature tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi, who now seems to be getting more well-deserved recognition after the release of his Tenorist (Savant Records, 2007). The Hines trio and “The Tenorist” are a magical pairing, with Bergonzi tearing into the Hines tunes and giving the sound more of an edge, more of a sense of the unexpected coming at you. And whether it's the saxophonist fitting into the trio's groove or vice-versa is anybody's guess; but bottom line, it's a great quartet that deserves a full CD's worth of sound.
With Return Pamela Hines soars into the territory of the top piano trios.
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