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.
In her 2011 Spice Rack records release,Lucky's Boy, Hines presents nine originals with lyrics in this terrific set, featuring April Hall's vocal interpretations along with John Lockwood on bass and Les Harris, Jr. on drums
Moon Germs, released in 2010, with John Lockwood (b), Bob Gullotti (d), Greg Dudzienski (ts) and Darren Barrett (t) is a riveting and ecclectic mix of driving tempos and romps into freer jazz explorations. It was on national jazz charts for 8 weeks, reached #2 on CMJ national jazz charts and #26 on Jazzweek charts. Ed Love of WDET (Detroit) lists Moon Germs as one of the top albums of 2010, In the October, 2010, posting on Jazztimes.com, Wilbert Sostre wrote,Hines' great technique and intuitive playing shows from the first track, Arlen classic, Let's Fall in Love. ... Hines is also a great composer and most of the compositions on this albums are Hines originals. Itchy is a good example of Hines' compositional talent, with interesting, constant tempo changes between bebop and a more funky groove. Variations on Invitation is another interesting Hines original with piano playing reminiscent harmonically and in the use of space to the master Thelonious Monk. Hines is just as good playing ballads like Mercer's Fool Rush In and Pamela's own Lavender and Complications. Her piano style in these slow pieces is more minimalist, making every note count. In Moon Germs, the CD tittle track, Hines shows her versitality in a almost avantgarde arrangement. In Christopher Street there is a touch of bossa and the whole band swings hard on Bill Evans' Show Type Tune and in Hines' Zonegar. Mid-west Record Recap says, ...on the opening track where she turns in a swinging version of Let's Fall in Love ... you almost won't recognize and may forget what it is a few times before it runs it's course. This time around, she's showing us that swing is the thing as this hot, upbeat set showcases some splendid originals as well as opening things up in new ways on established ballads and funk tunes. Sure handed fun stuff as always but not just another entry in her canon, Hines seems to not know how to play at any less than the top of her game. Hot stuff. In March, 2010, she contributed piano and original compositions for,Spectrum, with Trio Tutta. Also on the project were original tunes by bassist Tal Shalom-Kobi and drums by Miki Matsuki. Special guests on the CD were Ririka Masuda (as) and Tina Jacas (fl). Her 2009 release,This Heart of Mine, was a solo project with liner notes by jazz critic and author Scott Yanow. Susan Frances says in the November, 2009, post on JazzTimes.com,... Hines exhibits an intuitive nature when it comes to punctuating her notes and making distinctive accents that intensify the mood of her music... 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. Her 2008 release, New Christmas, an album of original holiday tunes, featured vocalists April Hall, Monica Hatch and Patrice Williamson, with Dave Landoni on bass and Miki Matsuki on drums. It earned her an appearance on Fox-25-TV, with vocalist Patrice Williamson, Tal Shalom-Kobi on bass and Miki Matsuki on drums Jazz Review says,In a world crowded with holiday music, pianist and composer Pamela Hines gives us something new. Make that nine new original songs for the Christmas season. It’s a nice change from the usual rehashing of Silver Bells or Silent Night. Instead of those usual Christmas standards, Hines has assembled three of Boston’s top jazz vocalists, April Hall, Monica Hatch and Patrice Williamson, to interpret a set of her own holiday compositions. They take turns singing on seven of the tracks...Hines’ assured, elegant playing weaves its way through all the numbers, providing the thread that ties the set of ballads and mid-tempo tunes together. It’s important to note that Hines’ compositions have holiday-related lyrics, but they are jazz tunes and can be listened to throughout the year. The music has the feel of old standards. She wisely avoids the usual bells or chimes that often distinguish Christmas music. The jazz foundation is obvious from the opening track, Custom Santa, which is warmed by Williamson’s deep, rich voice. The singer offers an extended scat on top of the trio’s easy playing. Williamson sings on two other numbers. Hall, who has appeared on three of Hines’ earlier CDs, sings on the ballad What Chance Have I? Hatch, who is at home on both the jazz and classical stage, is featured on three songs, Starlights, Christmas Joy and Ellen on Christmas. Again, this is not your typical holiday album filled with traditional Christmas songs. Listeners looking for something off-the-beaten track should try New Christmas. Hines 2007 release,Return, featured John Lockwood on bass, Bob Gullotti on drums and a special guest appearance by Jerry Bergonzi. The CD went to #13 on national jazz charts The trio's pensive version of I Will on Drop 2 (2006, Lockwood, Gullotti) was included in a compilation series by ESC Records of Germany. Step Inside Love includes Beatles tunes by many of today's jazz artists.
Her trio was the Pick-of-the Week in the Boston Globe in 2005 and a Globe Jazz-Pick in 2006. Hines' interesting compositions and harmonies earned her a guest appearance on the Peabody Award winning show, Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland on National Public Radio in 2000. 9-45 (Brownstone), her debut CD, was released in 1998 to critical acclaim. Pamela Trainor Hines gew up in Acton, Massachusetts and received her MM from New England Conservatory in 1998 with honors. She also has degrees from Boston University (on a full scholarship for basketball) and Old Dominion University. Hines married fusion bassist David Hines in 1995 and their family resides in the metro-west Boston area. Reviews of her work can be found at Jazz Times.com, Jazz Improv Magazine, Jazz Review Magazine, Jazz Inside Magazine,Boston Herald and numerous jazz sites including All About Jazz. Download individual songs on i tunes! Purchase CDs on i Tunes, Amazon, CD Baby, Borders, Target and many other sites!
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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