A contemporary Dave Brubeck? Hilton's second release as a leader American Impressions looks at impressions of everyday life in America with an expressive quartet that raises an evocative if not minimalistic look at jazz, blues and a twenty first century songbook of interpretative standards of original works that is a musical tapestry of Americana with each musician contributing specific and brilliant threads of sonic fiber to make up the musical patchwork that is American jazz today.
Hilton manages to find or weave her own sonic bridge of modern impressionism thanks to the talents of drummer Nasheet Waits, bassist Larry Grenadier, saxophonist J.D. Allen and of course her own musical soul which ties together the loose ends of the quartet into a unified voice of where the new Great American Songbook may be heading.
The opening "Too Hot" is a creative discourse in dynamic tension where J.D. Allen shines as a bright new sonic light for saxophone players as the lyrical and harmonic dissonance are celebrated in a unique musical diversity. "Anatomy of the Blues" is similar to "Too Hot"in that a vivid sonic color pallet draws from an emotional undercurrent of depth and an intriguing sense of lyrical purpose. Hilton displays an effortless command of harmonic changes while allowing the individual performers to chart their own melodic course with ease. Painting with a sonic impressionistic brush is difficult as the musical vision is easy to be lost while attempting to translate the emotional meaning but this attempt succeeds mightily on the emotionally charged "When It Rains." Often odd meter and improvisational loitering are self indulgent pitfalls of the artist looking for the instant gratification of the potential "star-quality" that is the music business. Lisa Hilton attacks her music with the foresight of a minimalistic master. Hilton posses the keen sense of melodic timing that allows her the uncanny ability to be able to shift dynamics as well as melodic emotions on the fly to find an accessible level of creativity that creates a dissonance with a purpose.
Lisa Hilton moves far beyond the more traditional role of jazz performance artist and composer and into the separate arena of those that are visually impaired and have additional disabilities along side certain visual impairments. Hilton's music is a unique and advanced look at performance art in the United States while shining a bright light on those that are suffering with certain disabilities that are an important part of the framework of our very diverse musical framework
An incredible offering. One of the years best.
Tracks: Too Hot; Anatomy Of The Blues; When It Rains; Subway; Accidental Romance; Rainy Night House; Waterfall; Slow Down; Underground; Echoes of Harlem; Don't Stop; American Suite.
Personnel: Lisa Hilton: piano; J.D. Allen: saxophone; Nasheet Waits: drums; Larry Grenadier: bass.