Review by Brad Walseth
Pianist Lisa Hilton displays her impressive talents for playing and creating beautiful musical experiences for the listener on this joyous recording. Recorded and mixed wonderfully by master engineer Al Schmitt, featuring compelling arrangements of melodic songs and utilizing a strong cast of supporting players, the album showcases Hilton’s appealing blend of jazz, classical and pop styles on the acoustic piano.
Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” flows along like a sparkling stream of notes while dancing around the wistful chords. “Over and Over Again” follows and is a burning pop song ridden hard by the tight band she has assembled. The rhythm section of Christian McBride on bass and Lewis Nash is first rate, while Steve Wilson on sax and Jeremy Pelt on trumpet and flugelhorn round out this stellar ensemble. “Just Want to Be With You” takes things in a bit different direction with a catchy, yet moody original, while the take on Ray Charles’ “A Little Bit of Soul” shows the band can swing and get down and dirty blue.
The centerpiece of the album is Hilton’s glorious solo take on Johnny Mandell’s ballad “Emily” followed by her steamy original, “Seduction,” followed by her sorrowful, classically-flavored “The Last Time,” and “Where Are You Now” featuring Pelt’s beautiful flugelhorn and Wilson on soprano coloring the mood with pastels.
The album continues with a couple more solo piano turns and a tribute to Monk (Epistrophy), as well as alternative take of “Both Sides Now,” which is equally as absorbing as the opener, but a bit darker and more bittersweet.
Echoes of Bill Evans, Ray Charles, Chopin and Rachmaninoff merge together into an intriguingly modern fusion of great musical styles from the past in Hilton’s compositions and covers that are sure to delight fans of melodic piano playing.
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