Feminine sensitivity, creativity and a strong desire to enjoy playing jazz is felt in the newly released album by Pamela Hines. She is a musician, raised in Boston, who studied with George Russell and obtained a Masters degree in music from the New England Conservatory. The dancing fingers of this pianist have a mixture of experience and freshness that is not common this days.
Bebop, Latin rhythms, ballads, and the blues mix harmonically in this work composed entirely by Hines. She is accompanied by vocalist April Hall, a Berklee College of Music graduate, who understands Hines' melodies perfectly and interprets them with a strong spirit. Veteran bassist John Lockwood, who is now a professor at Berklee and has played with Joe Pass, Gary Burton, and Freddie Hubbard, among others, makes sure the job is done right. The drums are played in a very elegant way by Reed Dieffenbach, a mature musician who also studied at Berklee and received a Buddy Rich Jazz Masters Scholarship.
One of the most peculiar pieces on this album is the second, "I-95," which starts with a sticky Latin rhythm on the piano, then drums and bass enter; here Dieffenbach shows his talent and Hall sings with all her soul. Another amazing melody comes with "4 Blues," which has an interesting introductory game between Lockwood and Hines; here the bassist shows why he was chosen by Cuban Latin jazz pianist Tony Pérez to play in his trio.
On the entire record, Hines shows who is the leader in a slight but definitive manner, guiding the other three members of the band magisterially. "Encinitas" has a smooth melody, which Hall sings with her sweet voice, about a paradisical place by the sea, while Hines draw waves with her piano. "A Stone" is memorable mostly because of the use of the bow by Lockwood, then the slow dramatic piano and soft vocals.
By the eighth track the spirit of the album is perfectly clear. Even though Hines composed all the melodies and she borrows no pieces from anyone else, she makes a tribute to some great figures of jazz who influenced her, including George Gershwin, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, Duke Ellington, and some others. This composition is called "We Could Have the Same," and Hall sings it like a friendly and respectful homage. After you listen to this delicate Hines composition for the first time, it seems impossible not to push play again and again to hear all the little details. Definitely an enjoyable work.