The Pamela Hines Trio,
(Spice Rack, 2007)

The Pamela Hines Trio kicks off this CD with an eight-minute interpretation of the Beatles' song, "I Will." If that seems unusual -- a jazz trio taking on a Lennon-McCartney ballad and using the low-key song to open an album -- well, that's the way Pamela Hines does things.

When they do play pop songs, most jazz musicians do it with a condescending edge and leave the melody behind as quickly as possible in order to bring improvised changes to it. Not Hines. She treats the tune with respect, and when she does work her own changes on it, she builds on the chord changes in the original melody, so that she enhances the song instead of just using it for personal purposes.

Her original ballad, "Drop2," shows that she understands and respects song structure and sees the song as more than a hook for her skill.

Hines tries to get away from piano trio sameness by bringing in vocalist April Hall on two tunes, both originals, and while jazz vocals don't always fit in an instrumental album, these seem organic to the material.

The resulting CD is always pleasant and frequently more than pleasant.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Michael Scott Cain

15 March 2008

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