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Take Five With Lisa Hilton

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Meet Lisa Hilton:Lisa Hilton is considered one of the most distinctive composers and pianists in jazz today. Trained as a classical pianist but with a degree in art, she has created her evocative, individualistic and impressionistic “sound paintings" for over a decade as a leader. In the book, The New Face of Jazz, Hilton was “compared to some of the best pianists in history," her imagistic compositions drawing deeply on classical traditions, twentieth century modernists, and the avant-garde as much as they look back to American jazz and blues artists like Thelonious Monk, Muddy Waters and Count Basie, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lisa Hilton: Getaway

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Pianist Lisa Hilton has made an art out of balancing the simple and complex. Her work speaks with extreme clarity and serves as a benchmark for a less-is-more style of piano playing that appeals to a wide swath of listeners, but it isn't plain-Jane jazz. Hilton has a way of taking a basic idea and stretching its conceptual fabric to the breaking point. Singsong ideals are twisted, contorted and distorted, and rhythmic ideas are pulled out of focus, blurring the firm-time realities that actually exist underneath it all. This form of musical cunning helped to make Underground (Ruby Slippers Productions, ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five with Lisa Hilton

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Meet Lisa Hilton: Pianist Lisa Hilton is driven to compose. Her compositions--rich in blues inflections and soul--make precise use of harmony and rhythm, welcoming audiences into a unique exchange between composer and listener, a human intersection where magic happens. The result is a fresh sound that is evocative, engaging and infused with 21st century sensibility.JazzReview succinctly dubbed her “The Lioness of Jazz."Hilton believes in tradition expressed in new ways, honoring the history of classical music, 20th century music, and American jazz, blues and minimalism in her broad compositional palette. She injects and filters every ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lisa Hilton: American Impressions

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Complacency can threaten to creep into a musician's being without their knowledge as time passes, but the opposite seems to have happened with pianist/composer Lisa Hilton. Her early records dealt in friendly pastel colors delivered in relatively safe fashion, but she's become more daring as time has passed. Her playing has become more limber, loose, organic, fearless and moody, and her music has benefited from this growth, as it now possesses a greater balance between shadows and light. Hilton hit a major turning point with Underground (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2011), which found her in good, risk-taking company, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Lisa Hilton: American Impressions

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Lisa HiltonAmerican ImpressionsSelf Produced2012 The last few years have seen the release of significant jazz recordings celebrating Americana. The majority of these have been devoted to jazz vocals and include: Jacqui Sutton's novel “Frontier Jazz" concept as manifested on her 2010 release Billie & Dolly (Toy Blue Typewriter Productions), Laurie Antonioli's rugged and rustic Midwestern soundscape on American Dream (Intrinsic Music, 2010), and Tierney Sutton's bold and uncompromising New World vista American Road (BMF, 2011). Other singers, like Carter Calvert, make a nod toward the creative American spirit, as she did with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lisa Hilton: Underground

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In the minds of some musicians and fans, music is meant to be an athletic competition where speed and strength trump everything else, but a large segment of audiences and performers don't buy into that line of thinking. Others believe that music can be a vehicle for expressing emotions and dealing in the art of communication, and pianist Lisa Hilton's Underground embodies those very ideals. Hilton's music has never been of the chops-heavy variety, but the California-based pianist/composer is a masterful mood-setter and a conceptualist nonpareil. While earlier albums in her discography occasionally painted sunny pictures, in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lisa Hilton: New York Sessions

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There was “The Dream Team, a collection of NBA players who filled most of the slots on the USA basketball team for the 1992 Olympics. Then there was “the dream team, high-priced lawyers who helped O.J. Simpson get acquitted of murder charges. For Lisa Hilton, the dream team is made up of four jazz musicians who joined the pianist/composer/producer for her ninth release, New York Sessions.A product of Southern California, Hilton drew some inspiration from her great-uncle, a respected Dutch pianist. As a child, she also listened to her mother play standards on the family piano. Hilton taught ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lisa Hilton: The New York Sessions

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It may surprise some but pianist Lisa Hilton has ten albums to her credit. The New York Sessions is number nine and presents several problems insofar as it being a unified jazz album. She is working with some A-List players--bassist Christian McBride, drummer Lewis Nash, altoist Steve Wilson and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt. On paper, this looks like it should be an exciting album but much of it is spent on solo piano that sounds classical- and new age-driven.

The album is book-ended by two takes of Joni Mitchell's “Both Sides Now, with Hilton's solo piano showing ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lisa Hilton: The New York Sessions

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The New York Sessions is the ninth release by pianist Lisa Hilton, whose last name lovingly adorns the bath towels in the suitcases of itinerant musicians around the world. A self-produced and largely self-motivated musician from the rougher section of Malibu, Hilton's avowed influences and illustrious associations promise great things--but the world is a harsh place, and sometimes promises are broken. Hilton is surrounded by a mighty supporting cast, but even a cursory listen reveals that their skills are conspicuously surplus to requirements. How any pianist could assemble a rhythm section that boasts Christian McBride and Lewis Nash, ...



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