Lisa Hilton | Underground

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Jazz: Jazz quartet Jazz: Cool Jazz Moods: Type: Instrumental
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by Lisa Hilton

From Jelly Roll style to Miles Davis influences, "Underground" showcases Lisa Hilton and her killing bandmates, Larry Grenadier/bass, Nasheet Waits/drums, and J.D. Allen/sax, to best advantage in this upbeat and soulful jazz collection.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz quartet
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Underground
2:58 $0.99
2. Boston+Blues
5:01 $0.99
3. Jack & Jill
5:31 $0.99
4. Sometme, Somehow, Soon
3:46 $0.99
5. Just A Little Past Midnight
3:03 $0.99
6. B Minor Waltz
5:19 $0.99
7. Blue Truth
7:04 $0.99
8. Come & Go
5:06 $0.99
9. Sometime, Somehow, Soon (ExtendedTake)
5:21 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
For the highly acclaimed pianist/composer/band leader Lisa Hilton’s thirteenth stateside release she is, once again, working with a stellar line –up of top flight jazz musicians: Larry Grenadier/bass, (known for his work with Brad Mehldau and Fly Trio), Naheet Waits/drums, (Jason Moran, John Escreet, Fred Hersch, Kurt Rosenwinkel), and J.D. Allen/tenor sax , (Cindy Blackman, Dave Douglas, Ron Carter) imbuing “Underground”, and Hilton’s compositions with straight ahead jazz that has warmth, beauty and soul. “I’m a fan of traditional jazz, but I am not a traditionalist – if that makes sense”, Hilton explains, “ I don’t aspire to sound like Miles Davis, Jelly Roll Morton, or Muddy Waters, but I do reference them in a style that I think represents our desire today to embrace the past but be moving forward as a jazz audience. Plus, this music is uplifting and fun!” The result is a fresh new sound that is familiar and appealing to listeners of all ages, while showcasing the extraordinary talents of the band members.

Called a “Lioness of Jazz” by JazzReivew and noted in the book, “The New Face of Jazz,” by Cicly Janus: “Hilton has been compared to some of the best pianists in history, such as Bill Evans, and Brad Mehldau”, Hilton has also been favorable compared to Dave Brubeck, and Oscar Peterson as well as composers Erik Satie and even Debussy, but Hilton’s sound and touch are all her own. “Underground” is infiltrated with what DownBeat Magazine has described as “A deeply expressive style of coaxing sounds from keys and offering rich melodies and improvisations.” Alternately bluesy, evocative and rollicking, “Underground” covers a lot of ground – a must for jazz fans as well as newbies.

Lisa Hilton/piano, Nasheet Waits/drums, Larry Grenadier/bass, J.D. Allen/sax

Recommended New Release for April: “Underground”:
Laurence Donohue-Greene, Managing Editor, The New York City Jazz Record (formerly AAJ/NY)

“But how does she sound? Well, she treats most of her chords like big doleful concerns: They can consume, but they almost always demand your deepest investigation, concentration. That’s why their pathos is so strong. In the right hand, Hilton crafts illuminative, seeping melodies. When she wants to, she can coax a sound from the upper-middle register that’s reminiscent of the way Bill Evans used to sound: like he was splitting delicate icicles into pieces, gently, with a flick of the middle finger. Hilton’s newest CD is stacked with some of the world’s greatest musicians, J.D. Allen, Larry Grenadier, Nasheet Waits….” Giovanni Russonello, Capital Bop/ March 24, 2011

“Emerging from the “underground”, with a strong new album of compelling originals, “Underground” should expose this talented artist to a whole new audience…Hilton is a strikingly original voice on the piano.” Brad Walseth, 3, 2011

“Something new and different that has something going for it other than just being different. Still sort of mainstream but wildly ear opening, Hilton is fully in touch with some universal vibe that lifts this session up and away. Hot stuff.” Midwest Record/March 2011

“Pianist/composer Lisa Hilton adds a bit of extra spice on this latest release. Her music, usually flowing like a river, is a bit more like a Class V rapids here, with extra assertion and percussion in the writing and delivery…. Inspired impressionism… an original voice.” George Harris, The Jazz Messenger/ March 7, 2011

“For fans of jazz, this is an absolute must.” Pat Van de Wiele, Keys & Chords/Netherlands

“Hilton, like the best jazz master – puts her ensemble to new and great use as they dismantle the historical precedence of such influences as Bill Evans and John Coltrane. Their new music becomes the final take layered over the past, redirecting the complex touchstones of jazz into the 21st century.” Paula Edelstein, Sounds of Timeless Jazz/March

“A top notch crew of like-minded musicians. This CD probes and explores, and bears repeated listening.” Martin Z. Kasdan Jr./ Louisville Music News/ May 2011

“Strongly impressionistic.” The Borderland/May 2011

Editor’s Pick: Boston Phoenix, May 2011

“Lisa Hilton has topped herself with UNDERGROUND. She’s never played, written or expressed herself better as an artist. This is living adventurous jazz that breathes fresh but at the same time is rooted in the best parts of the past – and always deeply emotive. Surrounded by some of the finest musicians working today, Hilton hits the mark on every cut. She’s joined the ranks of her own contemporary heroes.” Todd Steed, WUOT/Knoxville

“Shimmering and spacious. Hilton easily holds her own and her compositions clearly inspire all concerned. ” Mike Joyce, JazzTimes/June 2011

Watch the "Underground" video on YouTube/LisaHIltonMusic or at:



to write a review

Raj Manoharan (

The RajMan Review
On her latest album, pianist Lisa Hilton and her combo offer up an eclectic serving of jazz that never fails to disappoint.

Hilton is backed by a tight unit that includes saxophonist J.D. Allen, bassist Larry Grenadier (who occasionally records and performs with jazz guitar great Pat Metheny and will be touring with him later this year), and drummer Nasheet Waits.

Although Hilton’s name headlines the marquee, the CD never sounds like a purely solo record. It truly is a group effort, with both Hilton’s piano and Waits’ saxophone sharing equal sonic space and Grenadier’s bass and Allen’s drums rounding out the sound. At the same time, each musician puts his or her own unique stamp on the entire mosaic, resulting in a musical tapestry that can be appreciated both as a whole and in its individual parts.

The music is structured around Hilton’s dynamic and exuberant compositions, as well as the beautiful “B Minor Waltz” by jazz piano legend Bill Evans, to whom Hilton is often compared. The album is steeped in jazz, encompassing several forms of the genre, including freestyle, improvisational, and fusion, with a hint of ragtime and blues thrown in for good measure.

For those who like piano-led combos, jazz, or just good music in general, this set will have their ears engaged from beginning to end.

--Raj Manoharan