Pamela York
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Pamela York

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"CD Review of The Way of Time"

Pamela York's opening track is the tuneful “I Hear Music” which aptly describes what the listener experiences with abundant pleasure from the CD. Ms. York has assembled an appealing list of selections to interpret in her own lyrical, swinging fashion consisting of half timeless standards and half her own creations. Illuminating her deep musicality, she included her intimacy with the blues on “Mama's Midnight Hour” and “Sphere of Influence” (which are a gas to listen to). Bassist Lynn Seaton lives up to his usual buoyant strengths and Sebastian Whittaker's drums are a great fit. From York's impressive solo piano and two appealing vocals, to her trio and quartet (via guitarist Mike Wheeler on three tunes), she is articulate in varied tempos and nuances. Pamela York is a formidable jazz musician with a bright future. I hear much music, and so will you.

-Herb Wong - Jazz Education Journal

"CD Review of The Way of Time"

These days there are many talented young pianist-composers with resumés like Pamela York’s (Berklee; Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto; Mary Lou Williams Piano Competition finalist; etc.). Even York’s Nanaimo, British Columbia connection is not unprecedented: Both Diana Krall and Ingrid Jensen come from there.

But not too many new pianist-composers write songs as finely finished as York’s, and even fewer have the maturity to craft album statements as complete and balanced as The Way of Time. It contains six originals and six standards. Among the former are a Jobim tribute so gracefully authentic it could be a song Jobim forgot to write (“Counting the Stars”), with luminous details added by Mike Wheeler on nylon-string guitar; two new real blues; and “All Too Soon,” a poignant reflection (in a call-and-response with bassist Lynn Seaton) upon the growth of York’s three-year-old daughter.

The standards are all evergreens but offer novel perspectives. “Motherless Child” is hard and quick, not a lullaby. “April in Paris” is brooded over by Seaton’s bass. “Caravan” has an unfamiliar, droning, exciting left-hand bass line.

In an album of well-managed variety, the most striking contrast occurs when York’s polished, sophisticated piano playing makes way for the unguarded vulnerability of her singing voice on “East of the Sun” and “You’ve Changed.” - JazzTimes March 2007

"CD Review of Blue York"

Not everyone gets the opportunity to cut a debut recording with the likes of John Clayton on bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums. So for Pamela York, one can surmise that this represents her entry into the big leagues of jazz. And it all works out to everyone's pleasure with a menu of standards, a couple of jazz staples and a blues or two. Needless to say, York is in the best of musical company with big band buddies Clayton and Hamilton. A few highlights for these ears were these: a nicely controlled romp through Fascinatin' Rhythm; a welcome piano rendition of Tom Harrell's shining beauty, Sail Away; an upbeat but not overly fast version of Like Someone In Love; a quick-paced, sparkling Just One Of Those Things; a couple of classic ballads in Old Folks and Everything Happens To Me. On the latter tune, York surprises with a heartfelt vocal chorus. The CD is brought to an end with Intimacy Of The Blues, a rarely heard and most welcome line by the great Billy Strayhorn. Judging on York's swinging agenda here, we would most certainly expect to see a career unfold. - Jazz Society of Oregon

"CD Review of The Way of Time"

An excellent modern mainstream pianist originally from British Columbia who, after a period in southern California, has now lived in Texas for quite a few years, Pamela York continues to build on her earlier potential. Working closely with bassist Lynn Seaton, drummer Sebastian Whittaker and (on three of the dozen selections) guitarist Mike Wheeler, she is heard in top form throughout this set.

Mixing together six standards with six originals, York displays her own fresh voice on straight ahead material. She sings effectively on "East of the Sun" and "You've Changed," adds a countermelody to "Caravan," and contributes a new bossa nova ("Counting the Stars"), the sensitive "All Too Soon" and a cooking blues "Sphere of Influence."

Influenced a little by Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner, Pamela York has long developed her own voice in the music, swinging without being predictable. The Way of Time charts her progress and is a highly enjoyable set, available from

-Scott Yanow - L.A. Jazz Scene

"CD Review of 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."

-Willard Jenkins - JazzTimes

"The 3rd Annual Trinity Jazz Festival Proved Its Worth"

The Pamela York Trio featuring bassist Lynn Seaton, drummer Sebastian Whittaker and Ms. York on piano was the opening act for the Marsalis Brothers. The trio's approach to jazz on the evening of February 6 was an assortment of standards and blues oriented selections. Canadian-born Pamela York is the ultimate pianist. Her performance set a precedent for what was to become one of the finest displays of pure unadulterated jazz ever seen in Houston. The trio performed a cornucopia of tunes ranging from those of Gershwin to Pamela York originals. Pamela has a subtle style about her, yet she is able to draw her audiences in with each melodic note. Before becoming a jazz artist Pamela was a classically-trained musician, which in some ways has allowed her to ebb and flow with a high degree of appeal. Her touch on the keys is light and effortless, yet she is a ble to convey her message with a voice and style that is uniquely hers. While playing tunes made famous by some of the legendary masters, Pamala York makes her own statement without being a pretender. -

"Grace and Vibrancy: Pamela York Trio at the Crowne Plaza"

Pianist/vocalist Pamela York was born in Canada and raised on Vancouver Island in the city of Nanaimo (which is also the home town of pianist/vocalist Diana Krall). York moved to the United States and graduated from the Berklee School of Music in 1991 and also received a Masters Degree in jazz from the University of Tennessee in 1995. She settled in San Diego but has since moved to a suburb of Houston with her husband and baby daughter. But she was back in Southern California for two gigs, a performance at the San Diego Museum of Art and a recent Thursday at Merle Kreibich’s very successful Jazz at the Crowne Plaza series near LAX.

The trio of York on piano, Kristin Korb on bass and Joe LaBarbera on drums performed a cornucopia of tunes, many from York’s debut CD, Blue York. As I was seated, the trio was working on a York original “Back to the Border,” which Pamela explained did not pertain to the California-Mexico border but to the Canada-US border. Her initial foray into the States hit some bureaucratic snafus and she had to go “back to the border” to clear up some paperwork. This definitely sounds like the basis of a blues to me and it is an infectious, very well written piece. She followed this blues with a sumptuous reading of that newest of standards, “Estate.” Kristin Korb punctuated on her bass beautifully behind York’s lovely chords. Jazz musicians know, even if many in their audience do not, that slow tempos can be more demanding than breakneck ones. The tempo picked up considerably on the bop standard “In Walked Bud,” which Thelonious Monk wrote and dedicated to pianist Bud Powell. Bop is surely the most demanding of jazz forms but York handles this sub-genre magnificently In fact she smoothes away some of the nervousness inherent in this form of jazz while retaining the energy and complexity.

Things slowed down again on the beautiful Thad Jones song “A Child Is Born” which York selected in honor of her new baby, a 17-month-old girl, named Anna. Her reading was most sensitive as was LaBarbera’s brushwork. “East of the Sun” was a surprise (at least to this reviewer) for I didn’t know that Pamela sang. She does sing and very well. Like so many musicians who sing, the emphasis is on the song - where it should be - not on the performer. York’s voice is very pleasant and very natural. Another old warhorse “Just One of Those Things” was one of the highlights of the evening. Porter’s original melody was just a reference point and didn’t get touched too often. But, although Porter’s melody was seldom stated, it nonetheless informed each of the solos. The trio ended the first set with” Blue York,” another York original (and the title of her debut album). It is an extended piece that has a march feel to it. It is obvious that composition is one of York’s many musical talents. The trio kicked off the second set with a burning tempo rendition of the Schwartz-Dietz classic “You and the Night and the Music.” York remarked that she often seeks out songs written by women and so learned Carroll Coate’s beautiful “London by Night.” Well, she later discovered that Carroll is a British gentleman but the song is lovely and she thankfully keeps it in her repertoire.

No reason to discuss each of the selections but it should be noted that like Lester Young, Bill Evans and other of the more lyrical players, Pamela York plays each melody with a singers’ grace and vibrancy. She plays music rather than technique. I have not discussed drummer Joe LaBarbera to this point and that is not right. There is simply not a better drummer on the scene than he. His brushwork on the ballads was masterful, elegantly driven by flowing shifts of accent and emphasis. And, on the faster tunes, he generated a powerful sense of swing without relying on high decibel bashing and thrashing. Pamela York, Kristin Korb and Joe LaBarbera are the very best of jazz artists and a big thanks to Merle Kreibich for featuring them in the very best of venues. For more details on Pamela York and her debut CD, visit her website at

-Roger Crane - L.A. Jazz Scene

"CD Review of Blue York"

Blue York is a very impressive debut, and will no doubt lead to other endeavors for York. This CD is a straightforward jazz recording with a little bit of everything to satisfy both the newcomer to jazz and the avid jazz fan. - Jazz Improv Magazine

"Pamela York: Piano and Vocal Brilliance in Action"

Her piano work was extraordinarily affecting, amazingly powerful, and strikingly original, while her singing voice was marvelous, and many in the crowd wished that she had used it even more.

- A Concert Review by Gary Litt - Jazz Arts Newsletter

"CD Pick of the Month"

Canada gave us a multitude of musical talent including Oscar Peterson, Diana Krall, and now Pamela York. A most pleasant surprise, Ms. York is a young lady with a mind of her own, a fine touch, a very musical sound, and technique to spare (but used with discretion). A young musician is expected to reflect certain influences, which holds true for York. In listening to her debut recording there are traces of Bill Evans, but not in that fashionable copycat way so prevalent in other piano performers. Ms. York has a style and doesn't make a pastiche or melange of what she's heard others do. Her time is good too and she has a refreshing way of voicing chords and unusual in a debut release, she doesn't try too hard.

- Johnny Adams - Carmel Voice


As a leader:
"Blue York" (Audiophoric)
"The Way of Time" (Jazzful Heart Music)

As a side-musician:
"The Pink Songs" Kellye Gray (Proteus)
"The Blue Songs" Kellye Gray (Proteus)
"The Jim DeJulio Quintet" Jim DeJulio (AIX Records)
"Passing Time" Carol Morgan (self-produced)


Feeling a bit camera shy


**Pamela is the winner of the 2007 Great American Jazz Piano Competition!

Pamela York is a jazz pianist/vocalist/composer who hails from Nanaimo, British Columbia. A new voice on the music scene, Pamela is quickly becoming a favorite with jazz audiences. Scott Yanow (All Music Guide to Jazz) says, "Expanding the jazz tradition by adding her own personal voice and coming up with fresh ways to swing, Pamela York clearly has an important future ahead of her, one well worth watching."

Pamela began her formal training at the age of eight. She studied classical music throughout her childhood and eventually obtained an Associate Degree in Piano Performance from the prestigious Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. In 1990 she was awarded a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts which enabled her to study jazz at Berklee College of Music in Boston. She earned a Bachelor's Degree from Berklee in 1991. In 1995 she completed her Master's Degree in Jazz from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she held a graduate teaching assistantship. She has studied privately with jazz greats Hugh Fraser, Diana Krall, Jerry Coker, Donald Brown and Ray Santisi. During the summer of 2000 she attended the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz, Aspen on a full scholarship. Pamela was a finalist in the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition held at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in 2006 and 2007. In April 2007 she won first place in the Great American Jazz Piano Competition held in Jacksonville, Florida.

Pamela has performed with many renown jazz artists including John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, Russell Malone, Carl Allen, Conte Candoli, Buddy Defranco, Rufus Reid, Joe LaBarbera, Eddie Daniels, Louis Hayes, Warren Vache, Wycliffe Gordon, Pete Christlieb, Andre Hayward, Christopher Hollyday, Virginia Mayhew, Ernie Watts, Holly Hofmann, Herlin Riley, Rickey Woodard, Carmen Bradford, Kellye Gray, Roseanna Vitro, Lynn Seaton, Kristin Korb, Bob Magnusson, Jim DeJulio, Guy Barker, Gregory Hutchinson, Ben Riley, Jerry Coker, Donald Brown, Cathy Segal-Garcia, Jay Leonhart, Danny Gottlieb, Bob Mintzer, Rich Matteson, Rob McConnell, Marvin Stamm, Steve Houghton, the San Diego Symphony Pops, Monica Mancini, Michael Feinstein, Robert Guillaume and the San Diego Chamber Orchestra.

For the future, Pamela looks forward to reaching new audiences through her performances and recordings. She hopes to tour the United States, her native Canada and beyond, continuing to make a personal connection with people through her music. She currently resides just outside of Houston in Kingwood, Texas with her husband Adam, Pastor of Providence Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and their four-year-old daughter Anna Katherine.