Beatles tunes are showing up fairly often on jazz discs these days. On The Fred Hersch Trio + 2
(Palmetto, 2004), the pianist/leader included an early Fab Four hit, "And I Love Her"; Brad Mehldau's Day is Done
(Nonesuch, 2005) immersed his trio in "Martha My Dear" and "She's Leaving Home."
And now Boston-based pianist Pamela Hines opens Drop 2
with a seven-plus minute take on "I Will," a lovely McCartney ballad. In hindsight, the tune seems a bit overlooked, lost in the big shuffle of the "White Album," The Beatles
(Capitol Records, '69), the group's great two-record set. The melody is so simple and pure and pretty, and Hines and her trio with drummer Bob Guilotti and bassist John Lockwood treat it with respect, applying delicate understatement to the original before they go jazz exploring, without losing sight of the original melodic path.
The trio picks up the tempo on the Van Heusen/Burke standard "It Could Happen to You," with an insistent rhythm behind Hines' lively keyboard. And if the opener is a highlight, the Hines-penned title tune, a gorgeously dark-toned, inward-looking ballad, gives it some competition.
In a reprise of Hines' offering from last year, Hall Sings Hines
, the pianist invites vocalist April Hall into the studio to sing two of her (Hines') songs, "Golden Romance" and "Green Line." A superb melodist, Hines also pens a memorable lyric on these two tunes, which sound like American Songbook classics.
The set is filled out nicely with standards: "East of the Sun," "The Boy Next Door," and the Rogers and Hart gem, "This Can't Be Love," which closes the show on a bright, jaunty romp.
Visit Pamela Hines on the web.
Personnel: Pamela Hines: piano; John Lockwood: bass; Bob Guilotti: drums; April Hall: vocals (4,7).