Sunday, January 7, 2018

Lisa Hilton

Artist: Lisa Hilton
Title: Escapism
Genre: Jazz / Cool Jazz

“Stark beauty and flowing movement....” Nate Chinen/WBGO

“The rhythm section swings like hell…” – Stereogum

“Hilton is a pure original… she has a magical ability to make her piano tell compelling stories. This is an album to die for.” Jazz daGama/ Canada

Escapism “Blows open your mind and ears….this is a hot, happening date....” Midwest Record

For her 20th album Lisa Hilton wanted to provide uplift and relief, where listeners can be energized and feel rejuvenated, and this became the theme for the aptly titled ESCAPISM. Each composition seems to generate, by albums end, a mental release or escape all its own. “Artists have an important role in our culture and community--it is through art and music that our souls and spirits can be energized, balanced and entertained--we all need to "escape" or transcend our challenges. I want our music to be a positive force whether you\\'re listening on the subway, while at work or lounging on a tropical island! Our music embraces the good experiences in our world,” Hilton comments.

After working solo on last year's Day & Night release, Hilton brought back saxophonist JD Allen, trumpet and flugelhornist Terell Stafford, bassist Gregg August and drummer Rudy Royston into Avatar Studios. “Our engineer James Farber, a true sound icon, captured the incredible sound of these amazing musicians - all leaders in their own right,” Hilton enthuses. “I feel very fortunate to continue to work again and again with them." ESCAPISM is an audiophile's delight from the team of top engineers that Hilton has worked with for years: besides recording engineer Farber, it was mixed by 23-time Grammy® Award-winning engineer Al Schmitt at the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood and mastered by multi-Grammy® Award-winners Gavin Lurssen and Reuben Cohen.

The opening track, "Hot Summer Samba," twirls in multiple Latin rhythms and melodic ideas that Hilton composed to start the album moving. That track segues into the fast-paced trio work of "Meltdown." Hilton's melodic touch is evident in "Another Everyday Adventure," and the closer "Utopia Cornucopia," both soundtracks to finding wonderland anywhere, anytime and where you least expect it. Although Hilton does not record many covers, her arrangement of Lerner & Lane's classic "On A Clear Day" calms and inspires, suggested by the unsung lyrics "On a clear'll feel part of every mountain sea and shore." The track highlights her excellent trio mates while showcasing Hilton's ability to the interpret classics in new ways. The jaunty solo piece, "Escape Velocity Blues," seems to channel Neal Hefti and Count Basie, but is all Hilton with her signature touch on the keys. The beauty of Allen's tenor sax and Stafford's clear flugelhorn, alongside her own performance, shine through on "Zero Gravity." The tracks "Too Hot" and "29 Palms" are envelopes to a different kind of space, reaching in evocative and seemingly narrative directions.

With all that continues to change in our world, ESCAPISM seeks a journey that is focused on the feelings and positive energy it creates. Hilton allows this journey to be constructed and articulated through her written compositions evoking a sentiment of peace, tranquility and upbeat energy.

(#1022 on Ruby Slippers Productions).

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