At a time in our collective consciousness when it appears nothing is functioning as it once did, or is as reliable as it once was, or gives us purpose and solace as we once knew, along comes the soft sustaining magic of Lisa Hilton's gorgeous new recording, Paradise Cove, and for all of its enchanting forty-five minutes all is right with the world again.
Hilton may not have the wild chops of many of her peers or the instigative approach to the parade of shadows that hound us, but her music offers release into something greater, something less arch and/or demanding. Hilton's sincere compositions are candles in the dark, the sunrise of a better day. They are a true romance of the earth, the sky, and the resolute spirit.
Nothing on Paradise Cove (Hilton's twenty-sixth recording) is rushed or meant to lull you into a false expectancy. With the addition of simpatico trumpeter Igmar Thomas, Hilton introduces a new emotional voice, in turn adding even more depth and resiliency to her tightly-constructed (though the tightness is never felt) musings. Her long-running rapport with bassist Luques Curtis pulses at the heart of Paradise Cove, whose two well chosen covers, the Pink Panther noir-ish blues of Dizzy Gillespie's eternal "Birk's Works" and Burt Bacharach and Hal David's wistful and wishful 1965 pop gem, "What the World Needs Now is Love," serve to amplify and complement Hilton's own endearing work.
It is also enduring work, as the lucid and uncomplicated motifs of "Another Simple Sunday With You" and the majestic uplift of "Storybook Sequel" (a tune that should become a chestnut) instantly reveal. Reminiscent of many reflective moments intuited by such influences as Dave Brubeck, Brad Mehldau, and Bill Evans, these two tracks alone make the album a sure fire favorite. The bright, whispery restraint exhibited on both tracks by drummer Obed Calvaire and Thomas clear, yearning lines are standout performances.
An unabashed fan of the cha cha and other Latin infused rhythms, Hilton and her L.I.L.O. quartet, (Lisa, Igmar, Luques, Obed) sidestep and swing on "Mercurial Moments" and "Cha Cha Cha À La Carte." They cut loose on the many tempo-ed, retro-vibey "Fast Time Blues" and juke joint leaning "Blues Vagabond." Closing on the lush, hopeful cadences of its namesake track, Paradise Cove proves itself a team effort all around. For Hilton, who either willfully or unjustly flies under the broader jazz radar, it is another quietly brave achievement.
Birks' Works; Fast Time Blues; Blues Vagabond; Another Simple Sunday With You; Cha Cha Cha À La Carte; Mercurial Moments; Night Cap & a Little Chaos;Storybook Sequel; Mediterranean Dreams; What the World Needs Now is Love; Paradise Cove.
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