Thursday, March 10, 2016

USA: Lisa Hilton - Nocturnal (2016)


Acclaimed composer/pianist/band leader Lisa Hilton has completed her eighteenth release, NOCTURNAL with her most impressive band to date Hilton again on keys, with Antonio Sanchez/drums, Terell Stafford/trumpet, Gregg August/bass and J.D. Allen on tenor sax. The eleven tracks show a remarkable emotional depth and clarity from all band members with plenty of virtuosic moments. For lovers of tradition, the title track Nocturnal, Whirlwind and the classic, Willow Weep for Me allow for Stafford s fluid trumpet and flugelhorn and Allen s husky tenor tone to shine. The Latin flavored, A Spark in the Night, showcases Sanchez and August and their extensive Latin backgrounds in a catchy and appealing way, while Twilightis impressionistic. A surprise choice is The Pixies Where is my Mind so simply stated then turning in another direction by the finale. It s on the bluesy Seduction and the tender An August Remembered that Hiltons flowing lines and compositional ideas are highlighted. Also included is Hiltons Midnight Sonata for piano, bass and drums: I. Symphony of Blues II. Desire and III. Midnight Stars. Midnight Sonata merges a classical format with the freedom of American jazz and blues in a trans-genre style appealing to lovers of jazz and classical music. Hilton was inspired by many of our great American composers who also composed in classical forms such as George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck to name a few. The goal in recording the Sonata was to convey emotional depth and soul in their playing. While the sonata form is in tact, Hilton used improvisation, blues, modal washes, shifting key centers, free jazz, impressionism and extended technique in creating a refreshing yet familiar vibe. Hilton is considered one of the most distinctive composers and pianists in jazz today, her compositions drawing on classical traditions, twentieth century modernists, and the avant-garde as much as they look back to icons of American jazz and blues. Hilton s blues inflected trans-genre or poly-genre style influences extend beyond jazz legends Thelonious Monk, Count Basie, Horace Silver and Duke Ellington, to include bluesman Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, minimalists like Steve Reich, current rockers Black Keys, Pixies or modernists Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Bartok. This is the perfect soundtrack for work, entertaining or relaxing