Melissa Hill
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Melissa Hill

Band Jazz Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Georgia Straight: Local Discs July 28"

ACROSS AND BACK (Independent)
Even at this early stage of her career, Melissa Hill must be growing weary of comparisons to Dianna Krall. Both performers hail from Nanaimo and both sing and play the piano within the jazz idiom. Nonetheless, it’s hardly fair to compare an up-and-comer with an established international star, so let’s judge Hill on her own merits.
Backed by a solid band, Hill performs originals in a variety of styles, from 3-in-the-morning ballads (“I’m Bidin’ My Time”) to mellow soul (“Wealth”). The UBC-trained musician has a fluid piano-playing style that’s often more interesting than her vocal delivery, which, although it is consistently smooth and lovely, tends to be too laid-back to be truly engaging.
Still, there’s enough talent on display here to ensure that Hill will have a future that doesn’t’ involve plunking out “It Had to Be You” night after night for oblivious lounge patrons.
- John Lucas

"Vancouver Sun Review, May 12"

Across and Back
Selfdistributed ***
A triple threat as vocalist, pianist and composer, Vancouver-born Melissa Hill is a name to watch. Her debut disc, which encompasses pop and jazz material on the 11 original compositions, has some real strengths and just a few minor flaws.
Shadow Dance opens proceedings, a lovely melody that allows Hill to show her considerable range as a singer, and has dynamics that rise and fall.
The title track percolates to a bubbling rhythm, as drummer Mark Wheaton accents the off-beat. Maybe, a ballad, has the qualities of a pop single (the chorus stays in your head) and features a spare but effective acoustic guitar solo by Jean-Sebastien Williams. As a pianist, Hill does some nice things on Wealth, a funk number with a solid piano solo.
Vocally, Hill shines on Alone, a ballad with a nice guitar solo from Williams. Hill’s strengths lie in her tuneful melodies and their delivery.
Melissa Hill performs a CD- release concert Sunday, May 15, 7:30 and 9 p.m., at the Cellar.
— Marke Andrews
- Marke Andrews

"The Province Review, May 10"

MELISSA HILL: Across and Back (Independent)
Vancouver pianist Melissa Hill is a promising new jazz singer/songwriter talent with one hot little combo backing her. That said, her instrumental “5 AM” is one of the loveliest moments on the album. See her at the Jazz Cellar next Sunday at 7 and 8:30 pm.B
- John McLaughlin

"Nanaimo News Bulletin, April 19"

Jazz singer’s new CD a diverse treat

It’s no secret Nanaimo has a knack for producing talented jazz musicians.
Diana Krall and the Jensen sisters (Christine and Ingrid) are prime examples of that — each one has reached the heights of popularity in Canadian and international jazz circles. But if you thought the jazz talent ended there, you’d be wrong. It probably won’t be long before that talented trio is joined by a fourth hometown gal, Melissa Hill.
The 27-year-old Hill, who now lives in Vancouver, has just released her second CD, Across and Back — and if it’s a sign of what’s to come from the jazz vocalist, pianist and composer, we’ll soon be hearing her name in the same breath as ‘Krall’ and ‘Jensen.’
Diverse in its style of jazz, Across and Back highlights Hill’s strength as a singer, but also her extraordinary skill as a composer.
Educated at the University of British Columbia where she studied classical piano, her blend of jazz draws from a variety of sources
— Gershwin, Porter, and Ravel among them. Her compositions and lyrics range in style and depth, switching comfortably from a jazz standard on I’m Bidin’My Time to a pop/R&B tune on Maybe.
Her vocal range is equally diverse. Hill can sing a clear, crisp jazz note when needed, then belt out a soulful bluesy sound on another song, making each style sound natural. Jazz fans will appreciate the diverse mix on Hill’s CD and will hear some pleasing Joni Mitchell influences as well. They’ll also hear a little Carlos Santana at the end of last song, an instrumental called 5a.m.
The diversity is refreshing, and Hill’s voice ties it all together. Strong vocals and diverse musical styles make Melissa Hill’s CD worth picking up.

Catherine Litt is the News Bulletin’s arts and entertainment editor
- Catherine Litt

"The Courier, Music, May 11"

To Hill and back
Local singer/songwriter Melissa Hill brings her mellifluous vocals and jazzy pop to the Jazz Cellar May 15. Along with her four-piece band, she’ll play two shows featuring songs from her full-length debut, Across and Back. Call 604-738- 1959 to reserve tickets.
- Shawn Conner

"The Province, IN CONCERT, May 15"

Melissa Hill CD
Where: The Cellar Restaurant/Jazz Club, 3611 W. Broadway
Why: Says our own John McLaughlin: “Vancouver’s Melissa Hill is pretty serious about this career she’s building in jazz music. Already she has a music degree from UBC majoring in piano performance, released an indie EP and is now poised to really launch herself with her first full-length CD, Across and Back. Surrounded by a hot little combo, this could be the start of something cool.”
When: Tonight at 7:30 and 9p.m.
Tickets: $5 at the door
- John McLaughlin


The Beach Avenue Sessions – EP
“I love Paris” receiving airplay on 600AM the Bridge.

“Across and Back” – LP
“Sunshine” receiving airplay on 600AM the Bridge, and “Shadow Dance” and “Across and Back” receiving airplay on CHLY 101.7FM, "I'm Bidin' My Time" and "Maybe" as well as the tunes listed above receiving nation wide airplay on CBC Radio.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Melissa Hill is promoting herself as an original artist emerging into the western Canadian music scene with musical a variety of musical abilities. Her training ranges from her well developed and mastered skills on the piano, starting with an intense classical training background (BMus with a major in piano performance UBC) onto more recent years focussing on jazz studies influenced largely by McCoy Tyner, Oscar Peterson and Herbie Hancock. Her smooth and lustrous vocals come from years performing as a jazz singer, both solo and with ensembles. Her vocal style is influenced by the folk and pop sounds of Sarah McLachlan, to the jazzier styles of Holly Cole, and Cassandra Wilson. Her compositions are influenced by a wide range of composers all the way from the traditional standard writing style of George Gershwin and Cole Porter, to the more playful rhythmic styles of Dave Brubeck and Dave Holland. Furthermore, her deep classical roots emerge with impressionist influences from Ravel and Debussy to the more modern contemporary sounds of Aaron Copeland and Stravinsky. What sets Melissa Hill and her band apart from other styles, is that her originals are a complete blend of classical, pop, jazz and folk styles and cannot be put into one little box, as her music spans any specific genre. However, the solos that come out of her music definitely have a new smooth/acid jazz flavour to them, whether it be her hot little piano solo in “Wealth”, or the spacious richness to the instrumental “5AM”.
From composing to arranging to producing, and with performances at major festivals in Canada, Europe, and Asia, these musicians have done it all.
Each musician brings their own flavour and idea to the sound that Melissa Hill has created, and enriches her music with their own stylistic flair. Evan Arntzen on saxophones has created a new funk sound on the horn that matches no other. Daryl Jenke has an ambient style to his solos that brings a cool jazz element to Melissa Hill’s music, and Josh Cole on bass, has both the classical chops to pull off a beautiful Arco sound on “5AM”, but can also put funk and drive into a tune like “Wealth”. Dan Gaucher is a drummer, who is largely influenced by jazz and has the ability to bring subtleties to an intimate moment such as in “Alone”, and converse with the band, yet he is also able to bring a drive to the opening of “Across and Back”, and then funk it up at the end. The players in this band have made the writing of Melissa Hill sparkle, and allow her pianist skills to shine, bringing freedom to her solos while being placed on a backdrop of groove and time. The vocals are unique in that she has a rich presence of tone, vocal strength and maturity, but doesn’t over sing. Melissa Hill’s band is one to see live as they capture an audience with their passion on the first tune.