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Lisa Hilton – Nocturnal – Ruby Slippers

Exploring the human “experience” with Lisa Hilton…

Lisa Hilton – Nocturnal – Ruby Slippers 1020, 51:34 (1/22/16) ***1/2:

(Lisa Hilton – piano; Antonio Sanchez – drums; J.D. Allen – tenor sax; Terell Stafford – trumpet and Flugelhorn; Gregg August: bass)

Lisa Hilton’s new CD explores human emotions that often emerge during late evening personal reflections. Whether it be issues of love, illness, or abandonment, Hilton’s compositions and melodies bear repeat listening sessions. I found myself returning to this CD several times both in the intimate listening space of car audio as well as in quiet evening home audio settings.

Hilton is backed by a front line of accomplished stars: Terell Stafford and J.D. Allen, who contribute to the moodiness that brings on active thought. “A Spark in the Night” would be at home in a detective noir movie as Allen and Stafford support Hilton’s catchy theme. “Seduction” is blues-based and haunting. “Whirlwind” has a bees nest of activity with the horns leading the way and August’s bass providing an active pulse.

“Willow Weep for Me” has a sumptuous arrangement and Terell is a perfect choice for taking the lead on this classic track. The Pixies’ “Where is My Mind?” is a highlight track. You’ll find yourself hitting the “repeat” button on this one as its mournful tone set by Allen is matched by Hilton’s pensive piano line. Turn the lights off for best effect.

“Midnight Sonata” has Lisa combining classical motifs with jazz forms to both move and inspire. “Twilight” rises to a crescendo where the horns circle in and around Hilton’s piano’s emotive lines. “An August Remembered” has a strong Americana theme that brings the CD to a fitting conclusion. On January 17 Hilton will have an album release performance at Carnegie Hall of this new album.

TrackList:
Nocturnal, A Spark in the Night, Seduction, Whirlwind, Willow Weep for Me, Where is My Mind?, Midnight Sonata: Symphony of the Blues, Desire, Midnight Stars; Twilight, An August Remembered

—Jeff Krow

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