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Lisa Hilton | Kaleidoscope

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Bill Evans Brad Mehldau Dave Brubeck

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United States - California

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Jazz: Post-Bop Blues: Acoustic Blues Moods: Mood: Upbeat
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by Lisa Hilton

This engaging and upbeat instrumental encompasses old school, avant- garde, impressionist and minimalist ideas in 11 tracks. Audiophiles will enjoy the rich sound contributed by some of the best jazz musicians and engineers in the world.
Genre: Jazz: Post-Bop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Simmer
4:57 $0.99
2. Whispered Confessions
4:43 $0.99
3. Labyrinth
5:03 $0.99
4. When I Fall in Love
5:09 $0.99
5. Bach, Basie, Bird Boogie Blues Bop
3:44 $0.99
6. Kaleidoscope
3:55 $0.99
7. Midnight Mania
4:32 $0.99
8. Blue Horizon
3:13 $0.99
9. Stepping Into Paradise
5:31 $0.99
10. One and Only
3:54 $0.99
11. Sunny Side Up
4:46 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Kaleidoscope is composer/pianist Lisa Hilton’s 16th release, and features drummer Marcus Gilmore, bassist Larry Grenadier and on three tracks, the tenor sax of J.D. Allen. Hilton notes, "As artists, our ability to use a broad musical palette is unique to this century. With the launch of iTunes, (2001) and YouTube (2005), we now have fingertip access to any genre of music ever created. Unlike jazz inspired by classical music (third stream), or rock (fusion), jazz today enjoys the ability to connect to a myriad of genres. As a composer I have an unfettered curiosity - What happens if I mix a little Jelly Roll Morton with a Bill Evans vibe? Can I combine blues and Prokofiev ideas? Pop & bop? Today we take these elements of music, jazz, or life, shifting and combining these pieces into new configurations, sounds and ideas, appreciating the beauty even as it changes - just like a kaleidoscope does. Am I actually writing about a child’s toy – a kaleidoscope, while I’m at the piano? No – I’m exploring our world, art, music, emotion, jazz and European musical heritage, the band’s abilities and just sound. All of this can be communicated through a common shared experience of a child’s toy and what it represents. Every album is a journal exploring my current ideas and composers of influence. My inspirations come from life and nature as well as musical exploration in itself".

Although Hilton has been a band - leader for more than a decade, she is primarily acknowledged for her compositions and impressionistic touch at the keyboards – “A sculptor of sounds” as All About Jazz. “Many musicians are primarily ‘players’ who also compose. My great passion is to compose first, as well as to play the piano in new ways and I enjoy producing as well. America has been home to so many great jazz composers in the past – I am fascinated by our strong heritage and seek to further that. That means you won’t find me on the road 300 days a year though,” Hilton laughs a little, “I’m always exploring composers I admire.” Hilton now has over 200 tracks of her compositions and arrangements on iTunes.

Joining Hilton once again is bassist, Larry Grenadier – well known for his consistent virtuosity and recordings with Brad Mehldau, Pat Metheny Chris Potter and his own Fly Trio. For the first time, Marcus Gilmore joins Hilton, with a depth of experience and family history. Ben Ratliffe writes in the New York Times of Gilmore: “The grandson of Roy Haynes, jazz’s most important living drummer, but he has proved his own virtues quickly. He created that pleasant citywide buzz when someone new and special blows through New York clubs and jam sessions. Now you can hear him regularly, playing with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Nicholas Payton, Vijay Iyer, Ambrose Akinmusire, Yosvany Terry, Gretchen Parlato and others.” Hilton also features the acclaimed and deep tones of tenor sax, J.D. Allen on three tracks. Kaleidoscope’s upbeat vibe encompasses retro bop, avant- garde, impressionist and minimalist ideas in eleven tracks. Audiophiles will enjoy the rich sound contributed by the best sound engineers in the world with Al Schmitt, Gavin Lurssen and James Farber all involved.

Hilton starts with the retro groove of “Simmer” where Horace Silver or early Herbie Hancock would feel at home, then moves into the noir of “Whispered Confessions” and “Labyrinth.” The trio switches it up on the aptly named, “Bach, Basie, Bird Boogie Blues Bop,” then shifts to the languid, “When I Fall in Love” by Heyman & Young. Somehow channeling Bill Evans and Jelly Roll Morton in this dreamy standard works in a surprising and refreshing way. The only other cover is essentially bookend – Adele’s “One and Only” – a new pop jazz standard equally at home with the Heyman & Young here. Allen gets free rein for his dusky tenor on “Midnight Mania,” where the band leads a manic free explosion and back. The title track, “Kaleidoscope,” the bluesy “Blue Horizon” and the solo take of “Stepping Into Paradise” all showcase Hilton’s intimate piano wafting improvisations. The disc ends on an upbeat and traditional note with “Sunny Side Up.”

Hilton spent her childhood in a small coastal California town in a very academic and musical environment, with family chamber music sessions the norm at holidays. She studied classical and modern piano literature as well as flute. As is the case with many jazz musicians, the institutional course for a musical education did not pan out, and in college, Hilton left music to pursue a degree in art. “In retrospect, the years studying art from impressionism to the conceptualists has added to my musical “palette” – my music is now my art. I feel like I use musical elements to paint and later sculpt the sound after I have a form established.” Critics have compared to Hilton to Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans, Brad Mehldau, as well as Debussy and Satie, and have remarked on the expressive and painterly quality of her sound.

“An outstanding collection of tunes... Kaleidoscope is full of great music.” H. Allen Williams/JazzTimes.com

“Kaleidoscope pulsates with warm sensuous harmonies, originality & swinging brilliance.” San Diego County News

“One of the finest composers working in jazz today.” Ken Frankling/Jazz Notes April 2014

“Under the deft touch and considerable artistic vision of Lisa Hilton, modern and traditional jazz come together as one. Nine of the eleven tunes on Kaleidoscope are originals further solidifying Hilton as a composer of note. Hilton moves effortlessly between classical and jazz. There is a shift, a lyrical and harmonic adjustment within the more traditional ranks of jazz and Lisa Hilton is now leading the charge. A formidable quartet with adventurous original compositions banged out by some of the finest musicians of our time. It doesn't get much better than this”. Brent Black/Critical Jazz

“Lisa Hilton doesn’t disappoint, delivering a whiz-bang listening experience.” Nick Bewsey/ICON Magazine

“Exceptional artistry.” Jeff Tamarkin/Jazz Times Magazine/May 2014

“Lisa Hilton’s signature style is impressively on display.” George Harris/JazzWeekly

“Lisa Hilton is a jazz musician of incredible sensibility and nuance.” Hugh Carson/KVNF

“One of the few pianists that can meld the hard bop of Horace Silver with the aphoristic impressionism of Bill Evans.”
C. Michael Bailey/All About Jazz

“Here is another first rate saxophone/piano conventional quartet, in this case led by the beautiful composer/ pianist Lisa Hilton who’d have trouble these days convening a more impressive quartet of working wonders for her music. One of the most immediately likable of all contemporary jazz composers.” Buffalo News

“LOVE IT! Nice arrangements/feel/music. I really like the composed/impressionistic aspects.” Todd Steed/WUOT

“Superb new album by Lisa Hilton.” EJazzNews

“Kaleidoscope is as satisfying a jazz piano record as you’ll find today”. About.com jazz review

“We play a boat-load of Lisa Hilton’s music. Kaleidoscope is generating a ton of buzz.” Mark DeBoskey/ KSDS

“This is a pianist that gets your attention and keeps it. She plays with a depth of feeling that uses all the colors of her instrument. There are a lot of great jazz pianists, but Lisa Hilton takes a back seat to none of them. Hilton has her own voice and she makes sure it is heard. Kaleidoscope is an album you will want to hear.” World News

“Gorgeous playing, highly impressionistic–every instrumental voice sharing the spotlight”. WTJU Jazz

“Hilton’s thoughtful compositions and round, dark piano sound are the principal attractions throughout.” Jazziz

“A true musical Kaleidoscope… artfully composed.” Sounds of Timeless Jazz

“Hilton is more than “rising”, she’s already a jazz star that shines bright in a world where there are far too many pretenders…This CD comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED” Improvijazzation Nation

“There are a lot of great jazz pianists, but Hilton takes a back seat to none of them.” Jack Goodstein/Blog Critics

“Quite beautiful.” NewsFiber.com “Incredible sensibility.” WeAreJazz.com “Grace & expertise.” JazzHistory

“Kaleidoscope is as satisfying a jazz piano record as you’ll find today.” Michael Verity/About.com/Jazz

“Passionate and nuanced touch on that keyboard.” Trish Hennessey/Hybrid Jazz

“A Kaleidoscope shifting its colorful pieces to create a new vision….” Black Musicians Magazine

“Wonderful, subterranean, enthralling & beautiful.” Gary Lowe/WUNH Radio

“Fun, power, passion and nuance in a refreshingly clear manner.” Accent on Tampa

“Hilton continues to shine with her abilities to embrace an instrument that has no obvious limits.” SoloPiano.com

“Her playing is dramatic and truly unique, and she is perfectly abetted by her quartet - mates.” PasaTiempo



to write a review

Raj Manoharan (www.rajmanreviews.blogspot.com)

The RajMan Review
This girl's got groove!

Lisa Hilton proves once again why she's one of the most preeminent pianists working in contemporary jazz.

Her confident mastery of the genre both in terms of composition and performance allows her to bend it to her will with ease, as she does on her uppity take of “When I Fall in Love” and her classical/jazz mash-up “Bach/Basie/Bird Boogie/Blues Bop.”

Hilton's elegant and tasteful piano playing gets world-class accompaniment by the likes of Larry Grenadier on bass, Marcus Gilmore on drums, and J.D. Allen on saxophone, a powerhouse lineup that rivals anything on the jazz scene today.

This is a delightful, engaging album that pays proper tribute to a great tradition while filtering it through new and exciting lenses.