by Constance Tucker
Lucky’s Boy is the creation of composer, and veteran New England pianist Pamela Hines. Hines is joined by the long time collaborating rhythm section of John Lockwood on bass and Les Harris, Jr. on drums. While some always consider when a vocalist sings that the recording is his or her album, what has to be taken into consideration is the composer. Though April Hall is featured on vocals on this original outing, the entire set is devoted to Hines’ originals, which clearly makes this a Hines release and April Hall a guest artist who is the conduit on of Hines’ message.
Pamela Hines’ songwriting is reminiscent of jazz standards, both lyrically and instrumentally. Ballads are skillfully featured and make up a predominate tone of this set, but even the more up-tempo tunes have a thoughtful and mid-tempo contemplative feel. By no means is this a brooding or gloomy release, in fact Hines’ lyrics are uplifting and positive in nature, and for this listener not being beat over the head with layers of textures and disjointed chaos is a welcomed listen. Hines knows how to write ala standards formatting. Her originals are completely reminiscent harmonically of the Great American Songbook classics, which are called standards because they have stood the test of time. Subtle displays of virtuosity from everyone lend to the music they are presenting in this context. Hines is certainly a skilled technician and has nimble chops to spare, but her solos always serve the musical content, whether instrumental or vocal compositions.
Standouts include “Dreamerman” and “Spectrum,” both contain complex harmonic ideas with multifarious solos, but Hines never loses her focus or steps beyond the needs of the composition, in fact, her hints of staying on the edge, create even more interest in the cuts themselves, and vocalist April Hall certainly keeps the pace on each tune, providing a bluesy timbre and clear focused notes to convey the composers concepts with precision.
Between Hines’ sensitive and intuitive playing and Hall’s spot on vocal interpretation, each cut has its own message and stays on point. For listeners seeking an original voice and well-crafted compositions, coupled with a stellar ensemble this is the album for you. Very Highly Recommended!