The sixth album from Boston-based pianist Pamela Hines, Drop 2, is a solid piano trio session with two originals voiced by singer April Hall. Pamela Hines is a 1998 graduate from the New England Conservatory with a masters in music. In addition to her previous recordings, Hines was also featured on Marian McPartland's NPR Piano Jazz series in 2000. While her previous albums have included horns, this new effort is essentially a piano trio project.
Hines begins the album with a version of the Lennon/McCartney song of optimism, "I Will." Previous covers of this song have proven that it is transferable to the style of Ben Taylor as a love song; bluegrass fiddler/vocalist Alison Krauss imbued the song with a similar feeling of hope through per her vocals and instrumental work, in a way that the Beatles' original version does. What this trio accomplishes is something different indeed. The tune becomes part of the late-night/early-morning cocktail lounge repetoire, so you can virtually envision the swizzle stick in your drink while Hines outlines the noted melody and solos.
With a brisk bit of activity at the drum kit, Bob Guilotti starts off an up-tempo version of the Jimmy Van Heusen standard "It Could Happen To You." Likewise, the trio gives the Bowman classic "East Of The Sun" a fast ride around the park. On Hugh Martin's standard "The Boy Next Door," Hines leads the trio on a meaningful ballad treatment. Bassist John Lockwood, who gets several solo opportunities, provides an insightful one on this track. Jazz vocalist April Hall has appeared with Pamela Hines before (Hall Sings Hines, Spice Rack, 2005) and returns on two tracks to perform lyrics penned by Hines for two originals.
Hall renders a sensitive reading on "Golden Romance" but can't manage to make the more frenetic "Green Line" meaningful. The title tune affords a fine opportunity for Hines to show the lyrical side of her playing, and the closing up-tempo take on Rodgers and Hart's "This Can't Be Love" provides a spirited conclusion.
Track Listing: I Will; It Could Happen To You; Drop 2; Golden Romance; East of the Sun; The Boy Next Door;
Green Line; This Can't Be Love.
Personnel: Pamela Hines: piano; John Lockwood: bass; Bob Guilotti: drums; April Hall: vocals (4,7).