Lisa Hilton's 26th Album Debuts Her Dynamic New Quartet
“Harmonic depth… highly melodic… bluesy… shimmering… stunning…danceable…” Making A Scene! “Lisa Hilton's gorgeous new recording, Paradise Cove… a sure fire favorite.”
All About Jazz/Mike Jurkovic “This album kicks up the butanes…” JazzWeekly/George Harris
“A unique and brilliant sound by one of the best jazz pianists & composers around.” KVNF Radio
“I think we all need jazz in our lives these days,” composer, pianist, bandleader and producer Lisa K. Hilton writes in the liner notes for her upcoming December 2 release, Paradise Cove (Ruby Slipper Productions 1028). “From its inception ragtime, jazz and blues were created to boost moods or morale by America’s earliest composers, such as Scott Joplin, Ferdinand 'Jelly Roll' Morton or Nick La Rocca in the early 1900s. Our world today desires and deserves a lift after the last couple years, and with the music of Paradise Cove we aim to boost spirits everywhere.”
Hilton’s twenty-sixth recording debuts her dynamic new L.I.L.O. Quartet with Hilton on piano, trumpeter Igmar Thomas, bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Obed Calvaire. (L.I.L.O. for their first initials). Hilton has performed with the in-demand bassist regularly for several years, but the charismatic trumpeter, Curtis’s former roommate at Berklee College of Music, is a compelling addition, complimenting Hilton’s fluid style and bluesy riffs. Calvaire, who regularly works with SFJAZZ Collective as well as Wynton Marsalis, contributes considerable creativity to this cohesive band.
After recording at The Village Studios in Santa Monica, California Hilton declared, “The L.I.L.O. quartet is one of my favorite bands ever… I bet anyone listening will hear the enjoyment we had!” Hilton chose the title Paradise Cove as a reference to our cultural need to find a ‘cove’ or protected spot in our personal lives on a daily basis to escape, revitalize, or reboot and to create a ‘paradise’ or state of grace amid today’s fast-moving times.
The nine original tracks and two cover tunes range from the expressive melodicism of “Another Simple Sunday With You” and the title track “Paradise Cove” to the wildly upbeat blowing on Dizzy Gillespie’s 1957 jazz classic “Birks’ Works,” Hilton’s own “Blues Vagabond” as well as her “Fast Time Blues.” These tracks exhibit plenty of the quartet’s improvisational fireworks along with some retro vibes. On a quieter note, the wistful cover of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's 1965 pop hit “What the World Needs Now is Love” and the moving “Storybook Sequel” showcase a band in touch with a range of emotions and performance styles.
Hilton also includes a Latin tinge with the exuberant “Cha Cha Cha À La Carte” as well as the trio tune “Mercurial Moments,” which highlights excellent bass soloing by Curtis and exciting drumming by Calvaire. “Mediterranean Dreams” is a more classical piece for the trio while “Night Cap and a Little Chaos” has an enticing noir energy that rounds out these vibrant and well recorded tracks.
Lisa Kristine Hilton is an award-winning American composer, acclaimed jazz pianist, an experienced producer and bandleader. Growing up on California’s beautiful central coast, Hilton was so entranced with the piano that she taught herself to play music with help from a colored keyboard guide, writing her first simple songs around six, before beginning studies in classical and twenty first century music at the age of eight. Attending college in San Francisco, she missed the passion and creativity she had previously experienced in music, and abruptly switched majors and graduated instead with a degree in art. In 1997, Hilton’s interest in music was reignited by a neighbor: GRAMMY-award winning producer/composer David Foster. Hilton resumed some studies in theory and composition at UCLA, but Hilton’s art background continues to inform her compositions, previously noting she “paints” compositions using improvisation and harmony, and “sculpts” with rhythmic ideas from different cultures and eras. Hilton remains driven by the quality of musical expression that she initially experienced as a young girl.
It is a unique characteristic that is most often noted in her reviews: In DownBeat, Philip Booth wrote, “A deeply expressive style… rich melodies and improvisations… and an appealing impressionism.” In Cicily Janus's book, The New Face of Jazz: An Intimate Look at Today’s Living Legends and Artists of Tomorrow, the author stated that Hilton has been “compared to some of the best pianists in history.” Her pianism is often mentioned along with jazz pianist/composers Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, and Brad Mehldau as well as French impressionist composers Erik Satie and Claude Debussy.
The music of Lisa Hilton draws on classic American jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver and Count Basie, as well as blues heroes Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson as well as classical traditions, and twentieth century modernists too. She is a prolific composer and performs and records with many of today’s jazz luminaries. Her twenty-six albums sit regularly at the top of the Jazz Week and other radio/streaming charts for the last two decades, drawing over a half million streams on Apple Music, almost a million streams on Spotify, and three million streams on Pandora. As a soloist, or with her trio, quartet or quintet, Hilton has performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall, San Francisco Jazz, The Smithsonian Institution, and The Dorothy Chandler Theater.
Lisa Kristine Hilton is also the creator and co-author of the popular children’s book, If Dinosaurs Were Alive Today (Price Stern Sloan), which she wrote with her sister, Sandra L. Kirkpatrick. The book was recently updated and published as a digital version by the same name.