5

Lisa Hilton: Getaway

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Lisa Hilton: Getaway 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, 2011) and American Impressions (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2012) so intriguing, and it serves Getaway just as well.

Getaway is both a return to standard form and a departure from the norm for Hilton. She's working with musicians who've appeared by her side before, but she's left the quartet comfort zone and ventured into trio territory, where transparency and trickery both seem to thrive. Hilton's most frequent on-record collaborator—bassist Larry Grenadier—and the man who helped her shake things up and put a darker spin on things—drummer Nasheet Waits—join up again. They both assist Hilton in painting a bluesy picture, where shadows and light share space and the brooding and bright coexist in equal measures.

The album takes flight with a dark, cycling pattern that underlines a song that's both diaphanous and direct ("Getaway"). Things progress with jaunty notions, as playful melodic snippets come and go ("Just For Fun"). Both of these formulas, with certain twists, serve Hilton well in other places, but they don't define the album. The music falls into a state of cinematic reverie at other times ("Evening Song"), but excitement and the unexpected are always lurking around the corner ("City Streets" and "Lost & Found"). The majority of the program is given up to Hilton originals, but two covers—"Stormy Monday Blues" and Adele's "Turning Tables"—give the trio an opportunity to try their hand at music of the past and present.

The rarely-encountered marriage between stasis and surprise is central to the success of Getaway. Hilton's left hand often acts as a constant, serving as a steady presence and eye in the storm, and Grenadier often grounds the group, allowing Hilton and Waits to color around his bass. Waits remains the wonderful wildcard, as on Hilton's two previous albums, but he tempers his explosive side. Both Grenadier and Waits are far more technically adept than Hilton—and 99% of the playing population—but they don't flaunt their musical muscle in this setting. They both play in service of the music and all three musicians prove complementary to one another.

Getaway, more than any other release thus far, provides a clear picture of Lisa Hilton as artist, conceptualist builder, and sculptor of sounds. It also confirms what was already known: Hilton is a conjurer of musical spells, moods and magic who defies easy categorization.

Track Listing: Getaway; Just For Fun; Stormy Monday Blues; Stepping Into Paradise; Evening Song; City Streets; Lost & Found; Emergency; Turning Tables; Unforgotten; Stop & Go; Slow Down; Huckleberry Moon.

Personnel: Lisa Hilton: piano; Larry Grenadier: bass; Nasheet Waits: drums.

Title: Getaway | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Ruby Slippers Productions


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Translator's Note CD/LP/Track Review Translator's Note
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 28, 2017
Read Then and Now CD/LP/Track Review Then and Now
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 28, 2017
Read Gol CD/LP/Track Review Gol
by James Nadal
Published: July 28, 2017
Read Duo (DCWM) 2013 CD/LP/Track Review Duo (DCWM) 2013
by John Sharpe
Published: July 28, 2017
Read Magnetic CD/LP/Track Review Magnetic
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 27, 2017
Read A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: July 27, 2017
Read "Dream Within A Dream" CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "Beauty Within" CD/LP/Track Review Beauty Within
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 3, 2016
Read "Extremophile" CD/LP/Track Review Extremophile
by John Eyles
Published: April 11, 2017
Read "Tribute to Andrezej Przybielski Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Tribute to Andrezej Przybielski Vol. 1
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "Port Bou" CD/LP/Track Review Port Bou
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 15, 2017
Read "Rub Out The Word" CD/LP/Track Review Rub Out The Word
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 21, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.