HILLSIDE, NJ — The Urban Wolf Symphony may be Hillside’s best kept secret.
An eclectic jazz collective located in Hillside since 1995, Urban Wolf Symphony is a cutting edge, jazz-fusion collaboration headed up by 25- year industry veteran Greg Hines. The musical ensemble is also produced under Hines’ record label, Mindless Sound Records LLC.
Urban Wolf Symphony will be releasing two albums, “Sister Wolf,” and “Wolves in Love,” within the next few months, according to Hines.
Hines is a multi-instrumentalist; he plays the keyboard, guitar, bass, and drums. He is also a vocalist, songwriter, producer, and recording engineer. Hines considers his music to be a hybrid sound of varied genres, including R&B, pop, jazz, new age, hip-hop, world, industrial/techno, and alternative.
Hines told LocalSource that the musical ensemble does not rely on computer-generated instrumentations, similar to many other groups.
“Our group is live instrumentation,” Hines said in a phone call last week. “We use live drum sets, guitars and basses, and we have really good players in the group. The songs really pull at your heart.”
According to Hines, the geographic location of Hillside has made his work
“I feel being located in Hillside has been a complete blessing,” Hines said. “The town is well- loved and centrally located to most highways and enough neighboring city and towns that my collaborators and clients find my studio with ease. When I have performances I can get anywhere with ease. Hillside is the perfect location for my base of operations.”
Hines also said that the Hillside community has been supportive of his musical endeavors.
“As far as the people of Hillside go, they are very encouraging to the label , always asking us how our careers and music are going,” Hines said. “Local shops to us are the home of many of our fans and supporters. With each new release, we let our town of Hillside know. It will be no different with the release in the next month or so of the latest two Urban Wolf Albums. We are inspired by our town, we love it and the people and town love us.”
Celestine Hines, CEO of Urban Wolf Symphony who also happens to be Hines’ mother, said that since she was installed as CEO in 2013, she has developed a great love and appreciation for her son’s music, and for jazz in general.
“I listen to it, I appreciate it, and it crosses many boundaries,” Celestine Hines told LocalSource in a phone call last week. “When my grandson was born, I said that if you could hand the music to him, you could hand it to anyone.”
Hines said that she plays a role in evaluating all music that comes through the company’s doors, whether it is her son’s music, or that of an outside artist, and that she always has the younger generation in mind.
“We don’t produce music that kids can’t listen to,” she said. “We want kids to be able to listen to it.”
According to Hines, she grew up listening to some of the jazz greats, such as Louis Armstrong and Aretha Franklin.
“I want kids to be able to listen to good music,” she said, noting that some of today’s popular music geared toward youth contain too much sex and violence. “You want them to come down off that and listen to other music. Jazz is almost a dying art. We need music that people want to listen to.”
Greg Hines said that music has always been an important part of his life, starting when he was a child growing up in Newark.
His first musical project to capture major media attention was a musical group Hines started called, “House of Ill Repute,” which became something of an underground mainstay at HardKandy Records Inc., the former name of his record label.
Since then, Hines has recorded, engineered and produced many unsigned and “indie” artists. Among the critically acclaimed groups he has produced are Alphafemes, Sugar Stick, and In the Name Of Hip Hop.
Hines said that artists who have had the greatest influence on his music include Run-DMC and The Beastie Boys, embracing their blend of rock and rap. He was also heavily influenced by Prince for his blending of musical styles, the marriage of visuals with music, and the fact that he produced, wrote, performed and sometimes played all of his own instruments.
Classical and ethnic music also influenced Hines’ musical style.
Hines said that he is excited to see his newest music out there for audiences to enjoy, and that he anticipates many new projects in the near future.
Other members of the Urban Wolf Symphony include Richard Reiter on saxophone and woodwinds, Jake Skylar and Tom Lucas on lead, rhythm and bass guitars, James Borgese on drums, and DJ Soulbuck on turntables.
For more information about the Urban Wolf Symphony visit www.reverbnation.