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Pamela York: Blue York

For her debut recording, the San Diego-area-based Canadian pianist Pamela York, who is from Nanaimo, B.C.-the same unlikely burg that produced Diana Krall and trumpeter Ingrid Jensen (is there something in the water there?)-had the good sense to recruit SoCal’s most complementary rhythm section: drummer Jeff Hamilton and bassist John Clayton. York’s playing is elegant, perhaps because of studying classical music for many years.

I first heard York at the Monk Institute’s Jazz Colony in Snowmass, Colo., in the summer of 2000. She was the most seasoned student in the program, but perhaps the least jazz-immersed. Several things were clear, however: she is blessed with a real sense of grace at the keyboard, has the dexterity to swing and an uncommon sense of the blues for someone who has been immersed in the classics. That latter attribute, which should serve her well, is exhibited quite nicely on her own “Back to the Border,” delivered solo, and the title track, plus the closer, Strayhorn’s “Intimacy of the Blues.”

Originally Published