Following Pamela Hines' career proves that the Boston-based pianist/composer is very good at three things (at least): swinging in the piano trio format, playing behind female vocalists, and writing engaging jazz tunes in both of those endeavors.
New Christmas is Hines' second CD foray into holiday music. It is a beautifully hip outing, eschewing the standard Christmas fair in favor of her own top notch tunes.
She brings a first-rate trio (bassist Dave Landoni and drummer Miki Matsuki) to the effort to play behind three of Boston's finest female vocalists: April Hall, Monica Hatch and Patrice Williamson. The opener, "Custom Santa," introduces Williamson, who scats like a very cool and soulful Christmas angel on a seriously swinging holiday song, with Hines and the guys in a loose groove behind her.
"What Chance Have I?" has April Hall's crystalline voice bemoaning heartache at holiday time, and "Starlights,"(featuring Monica Hatch) is a pensive gem, spiritually-toned, with a Hines solo of the lightest, loveliest, most delicate touch.
Hines also offers up a couple of characteristically fine trio cuts: an instrumental take on "Custom Santa," and the closer, an ebullient and uplifting "Twilight Joy."
New Christmas is an excellent offering of new holiday music from the pen and piano of Pamela Hines.
Track Listing: Custom Santa; What Chance Have I; Gift of Giving; Starlights; Custom Santa (Trio); Christmas Love; Christmas Joy; Ellen on Christmas; Twilight Joy.
Rhythm Abstraction: Azure is the first volume of new compositions created as a follow up to 2018’s
release Rhythm Kaleidoscope. As with that release, Brock Avery improvised drum and percussion
solos. Frank Macchia then composed music for woodwinds and orchestra to Brock’s creations. Azure
is the first of three extended play albums of 6-7 compositions which will be released starting in
January and followed up in April and July. In Azure we have a created a group of pieces that continue
our quest for honoring the art of improvisation with a “stream-of-consciousness” sense of
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