It is a real wonder why a genuinely and generously creative spirit such as pianist Lisa Hilton hasn't broken through to a larger audience. Her philosophy of new ideas tied to older heartbeats, countered effusively by an actively improvisational impressionism, has resulted in a discography brightly colored with real beauts such as Chalkboard Destiny (2019), Oasis (2018), Escapism (2017), Day & Night (2016) and Nocturnal, (2016) (all on her own Ruby Slippers Productions.)
Now add Transparent Sky to that heady list. At first, what might seem and be heard as an easy-peasy trio date soon becomes, as one is drawn to deeper listenings the second, third, ninth time around, that Hilton is digging in and playing for keeps, thus upping everyone's game. So bassist Luques Curtis and the ever-grooving antics of drummer Rudy Royston lock in instantly, knowing you can do a lot with a trio, and that Hilton sure as hell knows it too.
Which brings us back to the music on Transparent Sky where the master pianist's instinct for melodic individualism dares you to look away. Set as a breezy samba that has Dave Brubeck asking her to dance, the opening "Santa Monica Samba" emerges as something more: a poppy swing beat blues that leaves you looking for your dance partner.
Curtis and Royston (as they so often are) are perfect throughout, making the propulsive interplay of "Random Journey," the lusher choreography of the wistful "Nightingales and Fairy Tales," the puppet dancing "Living In Limbo," and the quietly elegiac "Extraordinary Everyday Things" so, so . . . perfect. It's airtight yet spacious if that makes any sense at all, with the ebullience that has been a cornerstone of Hilton's music. And it's truly abundant here. And that is the beauty behind Transparent Sky's gracious air of humanity.
Spoiler alert: Transparent Sky is only thirty-nine minutes long.
Santa Monica Samba;
Nightingales & Fairy Tales;
Living in Limbo;
God Bless the Child;
Fall Upon a Miracle;
Extraordinary Everyday Things;