by Jeff Becker
Return, features Pamela Hines leading a stellar trio with special guest Jerry Bergonzi on tenor saxophone. Hines shines no matter what the setting she is put in, but this instrumental release certainly puts her in the driver’s seat and exhibits Pamela’s true talent as a pianist.
A multi-faceted pianist is not an easy task to locate in today’s jazz scene. Many pianists today have moved into a realm of groove oriented jazz, with no traces of swing anywhere to be found. Hines exemplifies the term well-rounded creating a pocket for the players to lay into with a deep sense of swing and driving force. Her ability to cover all styles of jazz clearly and with astounding technique comes through on her latest offering, proving once and for all that Hines is a seasoned composer, pianist and contributor to the jazz genre.Bassist, John Lockwood who has toured the U.S. and Europe with Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Gary Burton, the Mel Lewis Big Band, and The Fringe, has also performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, MIT Symphony, Pat Metheny, Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Shaw, Toots Thielemans, Stan Getz, and Art Farmer. Lockwood, a long time collaborator with Hines, lays the foundation for the trio to build upon. Not only does Lockwood clearly define the rhythmic vocabulary of this release, but he also exhibits the abilities to create texture between each cut, truly complimenting Hines’ originals and original arrangements of well placed standards. Drummer Bob Gullotti, has performed with J.J. Johnson, Kenny Werner, Joe Lovano, Attila Zoller, and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra and has over 30 recordings to his credit. Gullotti creates multi-layers and multi-textured colors within this Hines outing. The interaction between Hines, Lockwood and Gulloti should be the measure that all jazz releases should be measured by.
Special guest artist saxophonist, Jerry Bergonzi is the spicy sprinkle added to two Hines originals “Very” and “Return.” Bergonzi’s impeccable rhythm and poignant note choices ring true as each step is taken in these highly enjoyable compositions. Bergonzi is an international tenor sax man extraordinaire; Michael Brecker was once asked if he still practiced daily. His answer was “As long as Jerry Bergonzi is around, no tenor player can rest on his laurels.” For those in the know, this is the supreme compliment.Return is a mixture of driving hard core energy, soft inner reflections and heart-rending compositions. Hines truly exemplifies the epitome of jazz with this release and clearly defines herself as a solid member of the next generation of greats.