One of the nice things about the United States is how many good musicians there are located throughout the country. You can drive almost anywhere and quickly become aware of the enormous local talent every city boasts. Boston-raised pianist Pamela Hines is a case in point.
Her latest release, Drop 2, a reference to a common keyboard voicing technique, features bassist John Lockwood, who teaches at the Berklee College of Music, and drummer Bob Guilotti, who teaches at the Longy School of Music. Together they demonstrate how rich the Boston area is with straight-ahead jazz talent. The recording features three Hines originals and five standards.
The disc opens with a nice down-tempo and pensive rendition of the McCartney/Lennon "I Will." Their flowing lines and intricate interplay is expertly handled with a delicate touch of craftsmanship lacking in so much of today’s local jazz talent. Each of the musicians shines throughout the disc. Guilotti’s deft touch with cymbals is heard on "This Can’t Be Love" and throughout his kicking solo on "Green Line." Lockwood is more than just the rhythmic and harmonic foundation behind the group. He propels the ensemble forward at just the right times and settles back when the statements of others need to be highlighted. Such taste is rare in bassists and his playing is consistently artful throughout. It’s easy to hear why Berklee snatched him up to teach their students.
Hines’ playing is attractive, concise in statement and meticulous in line. She has a way with phrase that is enchanting and meaty at the same time. Her solo on the original "Drop 2" plays with time in a subtle manner and she shows some real chops on the up-tempo "It Could Happen To You." While the two vocal numbers seem out of place, the recording is a solid set of straight-ahead jazz piano trio music.