Pamela Hines has been a prolific and consistent presence in American jazz as a pianist and composer. She has received national and international critical acclaim for edgy instrumental compositions that contribute to the jazz history and art of the trio, quartet and quintet and for jazz originals for vocalists that are more at home in the American Songbook. Hines has led or played with other jazz artists at hundreds of east coast venues for three decades, including Scullers, Les Zygomates, Prudential Summer Music Series, Harbor Park Summer Music Series, Ryles, Johnny D's, Thelonious Monkfish, Spirit of Boston, Acton Jazz Cafe, Mechanics Hall, New Haven Jazzfest, Newton Jazzfest, New Composers Jazzfest, and Cachaca, Duplex and Metropolitan Room, NY, NY. Three of her trio CDs have reached the top 20 on national radio charts and her all- original Christmas CD with vocalists made the top 50 national radio list in 2008. Hines has also been the host/pianist for Live Jazz New England/Saturday Jazz Matinee on NPR affiliate 90.5- WICN since 2012.
Hines and her quartet performed Howard Brubeck's "Dialogues for Jazz Combo and Orchestra", in May, 2016, with the Indian Hill Orchestra, conducted by Bruce Hangen.
"Thrive!" was released in October, 2014, and features compositions written by Hines with Dave Clark on bass and Les Harris, Jr. on drums. She penned lyrics to the tune," From Across the Room" and that features vocalist Suzanne Cabot.
Jazz critic Don Lerman says in the April, May and June, 2015 issue of Cadence Magazine,"...Hines leads her trio in a well recorded and well performed set of acoustic jazz. Her all original program is innovative while also containing many traditional harmonic and rhythmic elements. A subtle Monkian quality seems present on 'Alteration' as well as on 'Ella's Room.' which makes novel use of repeated eighth note patterns...also notable are the odd-metered 'Philippe' and the upbeat latin 'Armory.'"
Dan McClenaghan says in All ABout Jazz," Pianist Pamela Hines 2013 CD offering, 3.2.1 (Spice Rack Records), was an immersion in the standards, with a big nod to the iconic Bill Evans. It was, perhaps, a bit of a writing respite for Hines, who is a supremely talented tune-smith. She's back, song-writing talents intact, energized even, on this all originals set,Thrive!.
Opening with "Ella's Room," Hines and her backing trio—Dave Clark on bass and Les Harris holding down the drum chair—make a sound that is a is a bit agitated and off- kilter. Hines touch is superb, lovely, crisp. Her mates are responsive and supportive in the creation of a joyous momentum.
"While We Can" features the trio exploring the ballad format with aplomb. A wistful mood pervades. Drummer Harris makes magic with the brushes. Hines touch seems impossibly pretty, and the melody has quirks, as if the spirit of Thelonious Monk is hanging around the studio. "Armory" is the trio's opportunity to pour on the spicy sauce. Up-tempo and danceable, drummer Harris gets a chance to step out and snap and pop, rattle and roll in front of Clark's three note repeated riff.
"Across the Room" is wistful, a measured performance in which each note of Hines' piano can be savored, and then, later in the set, an bonus: Suzanne Cabot, her voice rich-toned and uniquely expressive, joins the trio for a vocal take on the tune—lyrics by Pamela Hines. It is a tale of unrequited longing, as beautiful as can be.
After a fine cover album, 3.2.1, Pamela Hines is back in the songwriting groove with the jubilantly distinctive, slightly quirky Thrive!."
Her January, 2013 release, "3.2.1." features a trio with Dave Clark (b) and Yoron Israel (d). The trio gets right into high energy percussive interaction with "34 Skidoo" by Bill Evans. The set continues into exciting trio and duo tunes then ends with a solo ballad.
Dan McClenaghan says in All About Jazz, February, 2013,"...Hines has been busy on the jazz scene for fifteen years, producing many excellent CDs featuring her quartets and quintets, as well as pairings with several top-notch vocalists. A first-rate composer of engaging and memorable tunes who put out one of the coolest Christmas albums, New Christmas...3.2.1, a superb, mostly trio affair...Most of Hines' recordings, including New Christmas, have relied heavily on her own compositions. 3.2.1. takes a different tack, leaning on standards with an emphasis on material by pianist Bill Evans, starting right off with his "34 Skiddoo." Here, however, Hines and trio mates David Clark(bass) and Yoron Israel (drums) sound feistier—happier, even—than the normally introspective Evans.
On "B Minor Waltz," the trio cools things off a bit, showcasing Hines' exquisite touch and Israel's supple brush work, but the bounce in the trio's step is still there, riding Clark's warm heartbeat. The classic "East of the Sun" takes things out on the edge, an up-tempo high-wire roll, with Hines sounding particularly caffeinated."
Brent Black writes in Critical Jazz," Preconceived notions and running out of coffee are the Achilles heel for most critics. I have to admit that having reviewed over 50 piano trios in the past year... Pamela Hines and her latest release 3.2.1 are proof positive that one should never judge a book by it's cover. Standards may be the backbone but with stellar arrangements and Yoron Israel on drums and Dave Clark on bass and they are on point every step of the way. While having never seen Pamela Hines live it would not be reaching to say her skills at the piano bench are key in making what could be an ordinary yet talented trio recording into an extraordinary and highly entertaining trio. Thanks to the dynamite arrangements here it is easy to imagine Hines working group as a real ensemble and not Hines working as a potted plant with bass and drums.
Hines tackles two Bill Evans covers but not a riff on the legendary harmonic master instead she would simply seem to allow Evans harmonic influence to guide her harmonic sense of purpose as she establishes her own distinct artistic voice. While Evans was more of a two handed pianist than most realize, Hines has taken to a slightly more organic approach, contemporary yet old school in nature. The Evans tunes "34 Skidoo" along with "B Minor Waltz" and "Loose Blues" are reborn and a reminder of what true artistic interpretation is all about. This particular trio has an all most live quality to this recording, especially with the solo standard of "I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry." For the curious the aptly titled 3.2.1 refers to the combination of performances here with trio, duo and solo arrangements making this top of the line piano jazz. As a composer for vocalists, Hines hits on the cerebral as her compositions are complex yet they are deceptively accessible.
Clark is a first call lyrical bassist and Yoron Israel rounds off an impressive rhythm section with finesse and the ability to play musical conductor without every overshadowing Clark or Hines. Far more than a human metronome, Israel is a driving force in the lyrical excursion Hines takes on 3.2.1
To be perfectly honest, piano trios have become tired, predictable and in some cases down right boring with the same handful of artists running through the same set list of standards with no real lasting effect. Hines is an artist that has the gift of a natural and incredibly organic ebb and flow and 3.2.1 is exceptional on virtually every level."
In October of 2012, Hines was asked to host Live Jazz New England on NPR- affiliate WICN- 90.5 FM. She is frequently on piano for the show but has also done entire shows as a jazz host/presenter. The maiden program featured a dynamic performance by the Grace Kelly Quartet, and since then, she has interviewed dozens of jazz greats, including Glenn Zaleski and Eugene Maslov.
H. Allen Williams writes in Jazz Times.com, August, 2012," Hines is the epitome of what is great about jazz, her ability to create edgy jazz instrumentals in one cut, then turn on a dime and bring forth the most inspiring rendition of an arrangement of a classic standard, not to mention her ability to write complex but listenable melodies for vocalists is truly the cornerstone of her appeal as a composer and pianist. Hines is one of those jazz artists I predict will remain a household name long after she leaves this journey for her next adventure, her impact on jazz is permanent, but continues to inspire listeners, like a welcomed friend you look forward to seeing. She is a composer you have to drink in and savor to truly absorb the entire message. One listen will not give you the story or pinpoint the answer, she is an artist you have to spend time listening to her discography to hear the theme to her message and once you do, it will be time well spent and you will come out the other end with a satisfying experience, thankfully you can revisit over and over again through her recordings."
In June, 2012, Hines was part of the Berklee Percussion Festival with Akili Jamal Haynes and Ed Nixon.
Hines' 2011 release, "Lucky's Boy," presented nine originals with lyrics and featured vocalist April Hall, John Lockwood on bass and Les Harris, Jr. on drums.
Two of her tunes were featured on NECN-TV- Boston's Morning Show in May, 2012.
Wilbert Sostre says in Jazz Times.com (Dec 2011),"... she has the ability to compose interesting and complex jazz instrumentals... she is just as good as a songwriter... Hines piano playing all throughout is as always sharp, poetic and refined...The exquisite, soulful vocals of April Hall deliver every lyric with emotion and conviction."
" This jazz piano lady is never afraid to up her game and push the envelope, and she continues to do so with out losing her footing or her grip. Adding a vocalist to her program of all originals, her touch, tone, style and taste continue to amaze and engross. Playing with the abandon that comes with really being in the music as opposed to merely into the music, this is a jazzbo dream date that turns your headphones into the club you'd like to hang out at every night. Top shelf piano jazz once again from one of the contemporary leading lights of the genre. Hot stuff."- Chris Spector, Midwest Record, Sep, 2011.
"Moon Germs," released in 2010, with Lockwood (b), Bob Gullotti (d), Greg Dudzienski (ts) and Darren Barrett (t) is a riveting and ecclectic mix of driving tempos and romps into freer jazz explorations. It was on national jazz charts for 8 weeks, reached #2 on CMJ national jazz charts and #26 on Jazzweek charts. Ed Love of WDET (Detroit) lists "Moon Germs" as one of the top albums of 2010,
In the October, 2010, posting of Jazz Times.com, Sostre wrote,"Hines' great technique and intuitive playing shows from the first track. ... Hines is also a great composer... Itchy is a good example of Hines' compositional talent, with interesting, constant tempo changes between bebop and a more funky groove. Variations on Invitation is another interesting Hines original with piano playing reminiscent harmonically and in the use of space to the master Thelonious Monk. Hines is just as good playing ballads like Mercer's Fool Rush In and Pamela's own Lavender and Complications. Her piano style in these slow pieces is more minimalist, making every note count. In Moon Germs, the CD tittle track, Hines shows her versitality in a almost avantgarde arrangement."
Chris Spector says, "...on the opening track where she turns in a swinging version of Let's Fall in Love" ... you almost won't recognize and may forget what it is a few times before it runs it's course. This time around, she's showing us that swing is the thing as this hot, upbeat set showcases some splendid originals as well as opening things up in new ways on established ballads and funk tunes. Sure handed fun stuff as always but not just another entry in her canon, Hines seems to not know how to play at any less than the top of her game. Hot stuff."
"Moon Germs" did well on a global level. In May, 2011, it was still on some top-ten radio charts in the United States (KGLT and WFCS)
Her 2009 release,"This Heart of Mine," was a solo project with liner notes by jazz critic and author Scott Yanow.
Susan Frances says in the November, 2009, post of Jazz Times.com,"... Hines exhibits an intuitive nature .. her sequences are embroiling, and at other moments they exhibit a serenity... She travels through a gamut of musical ideas that honor the giants in jazz...Artists often say that they play with passion and it shows with Hines. She wears that passion on her sleeves as her notes depict what she is going through like an autobiography set to music. This Heart Of Mine bares pieces of Hines’ soul even as she covers other artists works making their material a reflection of herself."
Her trio has been the "Pick-of-the Week" and "Jazz-Pick" for the Boston Globe.
An original holiday themed CD in 2008 brought her a live appearance on Fox-25, Boston. Performing for that broadcast were Patrice Williamson (v), Tal Shalom-Kobi (b) and Miki Matsuki (d).
Hines has performed at hundreds of clubs in venues including Scullers, the Harbor Park Summer Music Series, Prudential Summer Music Series, Les Zygomates, Johnny D's, Spirit of Boston, Faneuil Hall Jazz Club, Chilton Club, Copley Art Society, Boston, Fanwood Performance Series in New Jersey, Junebug Jazz Festival in Portsmouth, VA, Skitch Henderson and the Virginia Symphony Pops (orchestra pianist), Mechanics Hall, Bull Mansion, Nick's, Worcester, MA, the Hardwick Wine and Jazz Festival, MA, Rose Art Museum, MA, Chanler at Cliff Walk, Sardellas and Greenvale Vineyards (with Dick Lupino) in Newport, RI, the Chrysler Museum of Nortfolk, VA, Ryles, Ryles and The Red House, Cambridge, MA, NARA Park and Acton Jazz Cafe, Acton, MA, Metropolitan Room, Cachaca, Somethin' Else, Duplex, NYC in addition to many stages and clubs on the Eastern Seaboard including New York, Boston and Richmond.
Hines' interesting compositions and harmonies earned her a guest appearance on the Peabody Award winning show, Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland on National Public Radio in 2000.
For three decades she has performed in clubs, concerts and festivals in the United States. Hines continues to maintain a busy performance schedule into the new year. She has played or recorded with many of today's jazz greats including Andrew Atkinson, Jerry Bergonzi, Greg Abate, David Amram, Arnie Krakowsky, Kenny Hadley, John Lockwood, Sean Farias, Mark Pontiatowski, Dave Landoni, Justin Meyer, Dave Clark, Les Harris, Jr., Yoron Israel, Jorge Perez-Albela, Giacomo Gates, Grace Kelly, Darren Barrett, Jacque Swarz- Bart, Marian McPartland, Bob Gullotti, Amanda Carr, Christine Fawson, April Hall and dozens of jazz vocalists.
"9-45" (Brownstone), her debut CD, was released in 1998 to critical acclaim. Jazz critic Harvey Pekar wrote in the Boston Herald," Pianist and composer Pamela Hines strikes a balance between the traditional and the avant garde on her first album, which is no mean feat...George Russell... influenced her writing, but her pieces and the group's airy, pensive performances are reminiscent of Miles Davis' quintet with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. Hines also summons up thoughts of Debussy, Ravel and pianist Bill Evans. Schwatrz-Bart plays lyrically and powerfully in the John Coltrane-Shorter tradition. And Moses is one of the more subtle, sensitive drummers around."
The release came days after losing her son, Christopher, to a rare skin disease called Netherton's Syndrome. He was six weeks old.
Pamela Trainor Hines grew up in Acton, MA and received her MM from New England Conservatory (Jazz Performance) in 1998 with honors. At NEC, Hines studied with Danilo Perez, Ran Blake, Charlie Banacos and she was greatly influenced by George Russell, who was teaching his own Lydian Concept classes at that time.
Hines made the decision to make jazz piano her life's focus after undergoing treatment for Hodgkin's Disease in 1990.
In December, 2013, Hines underwent a double masectomy and reconstruction for breast cancer. She received chemo treatment/surgeries in early 2014 and continued to play through the challenge on good days. In July, 2014, clean and healthy, she resumed a full performance schedule.
In addition to her Masters in Jazz, with Honors, from New England Conservatory, Hines has degrees from Boston University (B.S. in Broadcasting and Film, on a full scholarship for basketball) and Old Dominion University (B.A. in Music Ed, Magna Cum Laude, induction into Pi Kappa Lambda). Hines married fusion bassist David Hines in 1995. They have two daughters, Trina and Ella, and their family resides in the metro-west Boston area.
In 2009, she wrote a book on the life of her father-in-law, Jerome Hines, an American-born basso who sang with the Metropolitan Opera for 41 years. "Jerry really wrote this book. I went through boxes and boxes of reviews, photos and documents but I ended up using his own writings on his life to put it together. I tried to let Jerry tell his own story," says Hines.
She taught Jazz Studies classes at Christopher Newport University, Newport News, VA, from 2005-07 and since 2007, has been teaching at the Indian Hill Music School, Littleton, MA.
Reviews of her work can be found online at Jazz Times.com, Jazz Improv Magazine, Jazz Review Magazine, Jazz Inside Magazine, Boston Herald, Hot House Jazz Magazine and numerous internet jazz sites including All About Jazz.
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