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Pamela Hines: This Heart Of Mine

Raul d'Gama Rose By

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It's always tempting to say that any bright young musician who plays the ivory keys with a sound that's delightful and, sometimes, defined by silence has descended artistically from musicians like Paul Bley or Bill Evans. These kinds of generalizations can be overzealous; but despite the clear influence in the case of pianist Pamela Hines' This Heart Of Mine, her ability suggests more than simple imitation.

Pamela Hines' melodic lines sing, seemingly drawn from a school of unconscious thought pioneered by the likes of melodists such as Fats Waller, Art Tatum and Hank Jones. Hines also swings in and out of impressionist harmony. Nevertheless, she has something that is much more her own: a subconscious feeling for rhythm and inner pulse of harmony and especially melody. She extracts and plays a beautiful bass line with every melody, a quality akin to Latin American pianists (like Pedro "Peruchin" Justiz and Frank Emilio Flynn).

Here lies the finest quality of This Heart of Mine, where Hines explores some fine literature of the piano in its pristine manner, within the construct of creating a solo record. This is a challenge. A pianist must, for instance, be capable of nuanced interpretations of the word "reflection" in the medley of {Duke Ellington}}'s "Reflections in D" and The Beatles' "Across the Universe." Ellington's version is a sensuous kind, one where you can almost hear the rustle of silk, while "Across the Universe," a play on Ellington's tune, is wistful and ruminative. To unite the thoughts without missing a beat comes from an inner understanding of both complex emotions and how they play out. Following this, to negotiate the twists and turns of harmony and rhythm of Bud Powell "Celia" is very creditable. Tommy Flanagan's "Freight Train" is another kicker of an interpretation and an exercise in dexterity, all while never missing a beat.

Emotions are Hines' forte and she describes the events that opened her eyes to transposing the Jimmy McHugh/Harold Adamson standard, "Where Are You"—this version shifting from a more indigo shade to a brighter blue mood. Her own "Bonnaire" shows courage and flair for leaping into a musical territory that is rhythmically very daunting. This is in sharp contrast to the feeling of longing that permeates her other composition, "Release." There is much more saudade in the Jimmy McHugh/Dorothy Fields classic, "I'm In The Mood For Love." The slow treatment works beautifully as the sound of tonal silence is perfectly pitched. Ralph Towner superb guitar piece, "Icarus," is another exquisite transcription to piano.

Clearly, Hines, an extremely mature piano brain with a deft touch, plays with great care to read music creatively. Still, her greatest strength comes not from that musical brain, but from her heart and soul.

Track Listing: Reflections In D/Across The Universe; Celia; This Heart Of Mine; Love For Sale; Where Are You?; Freight Train; Bonaire; Etarnal Flame; I'm In The Mood For Love; Release; What Is This Thing Called Love; I'm Glad There Is You; Icarus.

Personnel: Pamela Hines: piano.

Title: This Heart Of Mine | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Spice Rack Records


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