FAME Review: Pamela Hines - 3.2.1.
Pamela Hines - 3.2.1.


Pamela Hines

Spice Rack Records - SR-101-30

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange by
Mark S. Tucker

Though Pamela Hines covers three Bill Evans tunes on 3.2.1., don't expect an Evans performance. As the promo lit points out, Hines "has received national and international acclaim for edgy instrumental compositions", and thus there's a lot more of Corea and Jarrett to her than Bill…but…the way she handles melodic narrative in a good deal more stripped down fashion is not all that far from the inventions Evans brought to the table. He was, after all, luxurious, often almost classical, in his addressal of every song whereas Hines automatically digs for the backbone of everything and then sets to work. To chart the metaphor a tad further: with Bill, you walked down the aisle in courtly garb, or at least evening wear, for a night at the Ahmanson; with Pam, you can trace the sinews, cartilage, bone, and flow systems beneath the lace and brocade. It all depends on what interests you.

I mean she even manages to tear down Spring can Really Hang You Up the Most below even its customarily spare norms, but, in doing so, pulls out a sun and clear skies hiding behind the bluesy mist…just before fading into said fog. 3.2.1. is a duet and trio venture, including a solo cut, with Dave Clark (no, not the Glad All Over Dave Clark!) on bass and Yoron Israel on drums, and is probably her best showcase in that it forces the listener to really burrow to the bottom of the pianist's delicacies and hard edges. There's plenty of both in this disc, and when Pamela Hines pulls up an uncompromising position, it isn't done through pounding the piano but via an unhedging choice of notes and progressions: she meant exactly every note in just that order and precisely that inflection and no other. Elsewhere, the listener is free to improv along with her, but in those steely defined sections, the only reaction can be "Whoa!! Yep, exactly right, I couldn't agree more!".

Elsewhere, Hines plays in quintets and such, and I'm dying to hear what she does when horns are ambling about, but the spotlight is all hers on this one nor does she waste a second of it. My favorite cut? Hard to choose, but I think I'm going with Loose Blues, both versions (two are provided). It's atypical of her voice this time out, but the fragmentary process she chose is exceedingly appealing, like tracing a mural by Joan Miro and not knowing quite where it will lead as you lark from figure to figure (especially so in the alternate take). Far more pointillistic than the rest of the CD, it sacrifices nothing in imagery, taking on an almost childlike stream of consciousness just like Miro's. On the other hand, if you find a kid who can play like this, send 'em my way, and I'll make both of us rich.

Track List:

  • 34 Skidoo (Evans)
  • B Minor Waltz (Evans)
  • Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most (Landesman / Wolf)
  • East of the Sun (Bowman)
  • Loose Blues (Evans)
  • Sangre Joven (Valle)
  • If You Could See Me Now (Dameron / Sigman)
  • Loose Blues (Alt. Take) (Evans)
  • I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry (Styne / Cahn)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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