Lisa Hilton: Oasis

Mike Jurkovic By

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Like whispers of a better place just around the corner if you're prepared to take the ride, the tunes on West Coast mainstay and prolific pianist/composer Lisa Hilton's exciting, well paced Oasis work their way into your listening space and take up residence. They hop, bop and bounce along her keyboard.

Hilton, who has enlivened stages across the continent and counts among her jazz influences Horace Silver, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington as well bluesman Muddy Waters, rockers the Black Keys and classical giants Bartok, Stravinsky, and Steve Reich, brings it all to the delicious Zen of the title track. Drawing from the whole musical spectrum, "Oasis" evokes the late '60's Youngbloods omnipresent anthem "Get Together," yet carries the peaceful theme to a lyrical, minimalist, and impressionistic resolve. A sly, off-kilter Latin rhythm provides the undertow of "Adventure Lands" as Hilton's active left hand teams brilliantly with the resilient give and take and formidable chops of bassist Lucques Curtis and drummer Mark Whitfield. Throughout Oasis these two dexterous gents take turns leading and following the lady, giving a sea-like pull and rise to the engaging, melodic swirl of "Watercolor World" and a poppish, candy delight to Geroge Gershwin's iconic "Fascinating Rhythms," only to bring the song to an end with a brief but pounding trio workout.

Without exaggeration, the wistful delicacies of "Lazy Daisy" and "Sunday Morning" go a long way to prove Hilton's compositional strengths for light emphasis and imaginative shadings. Both tunes have a poignant, relaxed charm and both seem like you've been listening to both for ages. And, since only one song stretches beyond six minutes (the dreamy closing solo ""Warm Summer Night"), Hilton also displays a compactness in her writing and playing. There have been many, many fine works of musical subtlety and virtuosity released during 2018 and Oasis stands with the finest.

Track Listing: Twists of Fate; Adventure Lands; Oasis; Watercolor World; Fascinating Rhythms; Vapors and Shadows; Just For Fun; Sunshine States; Lazy Daisy; Sunday Morning; Warm Summer Night.

Personnel: Lisa Hilton: piano; Lucques Curtis: bass; Mark Whitfield: drums.

Title: Oasis | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Ruby Slippers Productions

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