Pianist and composer Lisa Hilton's More Than Another Day is yet another effort reacting to the gloom which hung over the music industry in 2020. That does not mean the album is necessarily bleak. A brief survey of the cover photography will tell a very different story. Donning a wide-brimmed hat, blonde hair splayed out over a black summer dress, carrying a bouquet of white roses in one hand and a weathered, vintage suitcase in the other, Hilton seems to be suggesting a viewpoint more optimistic than the album's inspiration might imply.
Bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Rudy Royston should be familiar to those already acquainted with Hilton's discography; they both previously appeared on her Chalkboard Destiny (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2019) as well as popping up in a couple of other places. In particular, Royston shares an exceptional rapport with the pianist; as inventive as Hilton's melody is, his drums set the mood in "Secret Beach," or "Dear Life of Mine." "Retro Road Trip" is the point where the trio is at its best; it is a contagious tune wherein Hilton coaxes the most out of her rhythm section. Like all the best jazz, it is satisfying even as it instils a yearning for more. Cole Porter's "I've Got You Under My Skin," the only song on the album not composed by its bandleader, is at its best the further away from its familiar melody the band travels. Their new rendition of his classic standard is at times heart-warming, making obvious the reasons for its inclusion.
In a few instances, the compositions written for More Than Another Day are absolutely breath-taking. Hilton has a way of injecting such warmth into her left hand that, no matter what sort of piece the pianist tackles, she leaves behind a sense of delicate intimacy not found in the repertoire of other artists.
While none of Hilton's compositions for this album truly called for it, there would be some interest in hearing Rudy Royston really cut loose and add more of his personality to these pieces. Energetic drummers are a dime a dozen, but Royston boasts an uncommon degree of finesse with which to bolster his intensity. As it stands, More Than Another Day is a satisfying experience, in that regard no different to the rest of Lisa Hilton's work. Having released twenty five albums over the previous two decades, she could quite fairly be referred to as prolific. Then again, you cannot have too much of a good thing.
More Than Another Day; Retro Road Trip; Secret Beach; I've Got You Under My Skin; Blues and
Beauty; No Sleep Until...; Dear Life of Mine; Karma Chaos; Today I Looked At Love; So This Is Love.
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