This Heart of Mine finds Hines exploring her interests, as if she’s testing the waters of her sound on a variety of styles. It opens with a languorous mash-up of Duke Ellington’s “Reflections in D” and John Lennon’s “Across the Universe”, proving Hine’s creative musicality in pulling off the blend of such an unlikely pairing of songs.
On this record, Hines is at her very best on the ballads which include the title tune, “This Heart of Mine” (the 1946 standard introduced in the film “Ziegfeld Follies”); McHugh & Adamson’s “Where Are You?” which is perhaps the best of the record; “Eternal Flame” (a creative re-imagining of a hit by the 1980s pop group The Bangles); “I’m In The Mood For Love”; “Release” (a Hines original); and the album’s closer, “Icarus” by acoustic guitarist and co-founder of the group Oregon, Ralph Towner. Hines plays these ballads with emotional power, moving easily between pretty and contemplative, expansive and intimate. This Heart of Mine is worth it just to enjoy these lovely solo piano pieces.
There are some up-tempo pieces too, including another Hines original, this time a bossa nova called “Bonaire”. She proves she can negotiate the walking bass and swinging bop solo lines, but these tunes don’t let her play as well to her strengths. Enjoy them as “palate cleansers” between the rich servings of the ballads.