April Hall with the Pamela Hines Trio: Hall Sings Hines (2005)
A teaming of talented ladies brings us Hall Sings Hines. The combination of vocalist April Hall and pianist Pamela Hines, who wrote all the tunes, seems a perfect fit, like Tony Bennett's work with the Ralph Sharon Trio for the past several years.
If the music that Hall and Hines make represents an extension of their personalities, they both must be people possessed of an uplifting panache, a dash of style. "I Go for You" opens the set with a swaying tempo that Hall navigates with a fluid grace, a rich tone, and an appealing assurance, before Pamela Hines takes a solo that seems informed by Bill Evans, but with a more outward-looking attitude, vivid and bright. Hines' songwriting hashere and elsewhere in the seta classic feeling, Cole Porter-esque in terms of melody.
"I-95" ups the tempo on a Latin groove, with bassist John Lockwood and drummer Reed Dieffenbach shining, in accompaniment and some solo space. In lesser hands bass solos have a way of dragging a tune down, but Lockwood's work lifts it, in front of Deiffenbach's bouncy drums. "Just Us" is a good old-fashioned love song that makes me think of those great late-'40s/early-50's musicals. The tune features Hall in achingly beautiful voice in front of bass and drumsnice brush work by Dieffenbachwith Hines sparkling around the vocal.
"4 Blues" changes the pace, kicking out the jams, in a belt-it-out affair for Hall, with the band cooking, with a quirky, slightly angular solo from Hines. "Encinitas" (named for one of California's prettiest cities, nestled on the coast twenty miles north of San Diego) drifts into a relaxed mode, with Hines' solo sounding like sunlight glinting off the faces of blue waves.
An impressive vocal effort covering some fine original Pamela Hines tunes.
Track Listing: I Go for You; I-95; Just Us; 4 Blues; Encinitas; To the Street; A Stone; We Could Have the Same; Traces.
Personnel: April Hall: vocals; John Lockwood: bass; Redd Dieffenbach: drums; Pamela Hines: piano.
Record Label: Spice Rack Records