Lisa Hilton | Day & Night

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Day & Night

by Lisa Hilton

Hilton’s expressive and impressionistic compositions explore the soundscape of jazz and blues alongside classical, modernist and avant- garde ideas in refreshingly new but familiar ways.
Genre: Jazz: Cool Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Caffeinated Culture
3:33 album only
2. Day and Night
4:07 album only
3. Begin the Beguine
4:54 album only
4. Sunrise
3:26 album only
5. Stepping into Paradise
7:07 album only
6. A Spark in the Night
7:10 album only
7. Seduction
6:20 album only
8. Dark Sky Day
2:03 album only
9. So This Is Love
6:40 album only
10. Sunset on the Beach
3:19 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The release date on "Day & Night is December 16, 2016.
"Attention-getting and subtly strong. BaDoom! I 'got it,' all of it. In a heartbeat. I felt enveloped in what I realized was a perfectly seamed performance. Virtuosity aside, Hilton has imbued this succession of songs with so much nuance - so much extension of incredibly phrased riffs - that take the song places that are so unexpected that one is left simply awestruck and paralyzed by beauty”.  KVNF Radio

"Lisa Hilton writes in the liner notes: “Day & Night echoes my commitment to discover and savor every day moments: to see the beauty in a day from the first glow of sunrise to the dimming sky at sunset, and to acknowledge and share these these rich times with others.  When composing and creating this album, the great American composer Cole Porter was one inspiration. Although we are both from small towns, Porter was a true musical genius who, while attending Yale University, wrote three hundred compositions, was the President of the Glee Club, and class valedictorian before heading on to Harvard Law School. I have always appreciated Porter’s lush melodies and gentle Latin rhythms.  The cool blues of composer/pianists Horace Silver and “Count” Bill Basie have also found their way into the soul of my music. I believe composers today can be inspired by our rich musical heritage in America, while creating music for our current century.”

Nineteen albums in, after working with the top-drawer jazz masters, like Antonio Sanchez, Christian McBride, Nasheet Waits, Sean Jones, Marcus Gilmore, Steve Wilson, Jeremy Pelt, Lewis Nash, Billy Hart, Larry Grenadier, Rudy Royston, and Bobby Militello, among others, LISA HILTON strips her music down to the essentials and returns to the solo format with DAY & NIGHT to be released on the Ruby Slippers Productions label (#1021) with a street date of December 16th 2016 and heading to radio on January 2nd . Hilton was last heard in a solo piano setting with her acclaimed 2010 release, NUANCE, which All About Jazz said was “a recording that focuses and captures the exquisite subtleties of life”.

For this album, Hilton looked to the great American composer Cole Porter—one of her favorite composers, for inspiration, (the CD title DAY & NIGHT is a nod to Porter’s classic, Night and Day). As Hilton noted, “I have always appreciated Cole Porter’s lush melodies and gentle Latin rhythms – and, interestingly, we’re both from small towns!” (Porter from Peru, Indiana and Hilton in San Luis Obispo, California). Hilton includes a searing and simple take on Porters classic, “Begin the Beguine”, which turns wondrously seductive under her touch. Her original tunes, “Stepping into Paradise”, “A Spark in the Night” and “So This is Love” do convey the some of Porter’s cosmopolitan essence, but also embedded in Hilton’s realization of her nine original compositions is the vibrating energy and bluesy soul of fellow composer/pianists “Count” Bill Basie, and Horace Silver. Hilton has wound an underlying concept through the music of DAY & NIGHT. Mirroring her solo format, the theme Hilton writes of in her liner notes is introspective: “Day & Night echoes my commitment to discover and savor every day moments: to see the beauty in a day from the first glow of sunrise to the dimming sky at sunset, and to acknowledge and share these these rich times others.” DAY & NIGHT begins with the upbeat samba charmer, “Caffeinated Culture” before the title track delivers its sophisticated drama. Hilton’s “Seduction” an earlier composition from her NOCTURNAL album—attests to Hilton’s fluid pianistic style, but with traces of the Basie and Silver influences holding sway. “Sunrise” and “Sunset on the Beach” both feature Hilton as a strong impressionist—one of the unique qualities of her compositions, while “Dark Sky Day” hints of Hilton’s classical training. Hilton has composed her pieces to treat the traditional in new ways, combining multiple rhythmic and genre ideas as if to try and shine a different light to the scene of a shared cup of coffee, a jostle of memories or the simmer of passions held dear to the heart.

Twenty - three time Grammy winning engineer, Al Schmitt lends his masterful talents to these ten tracks that were recorded at the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood – a treat for any audiophile. There is a remarkable intimacy and immediacy that brings you right inside the sound – Hilton has worked with Schmitt and Grammy award winning Gavin Lurssen, for over a decade.

Hilton is considered one of the most distinctive composers and pianists in jazz today, her compositions drawing on classical traditions, twentieth century modernists, and the avant-garde as much as they look back to icons of American jazz and blues. Hilton’s blues inflected trans-genre or poly-genre style influences extend beyond jazz legends Thelonious Monk, Count Basie, Horace Silver and Duke Ellington, to include bluesman Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, minimalists like Steve Reich, current rockers Black Keys or modernists Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Bartok. Originally from a small town on California’s central coast, Hilton studied classical and twentieth century piano formally from the age of eight, where she was inspired by her great uncle, Willem Bloemendall, (1910-1937), a young Dutch piano virtuoso. In college though, due to the lack of creativity in the program, she became a music school drop out, switching majors and receiving a degree in art instead. Ever since becoming a professional musician, this background in the fine arts has well informed Hilton’s composition process. “While Louis Armstrong was performing, Monet was painting water lilies and French composers like Debussy were using harmonic ‘impressionism’. As a composer today, I explore music as art, building the composition with musical elements then ‘painting’ texture and color through various jazz approaches,” Hilton explains. “I might apply Seurat’s pointillism ideas to improvisation, creating new ways of expressing our life today.”



to write a review

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Day & Night" is the nineteenth album from jazz pianist/composer Lisa Hilton and the twelfth that I have reviewed. Hilton usually records with her band, but once in awhile she releases a solo piano album, and this is one such album. It consists of nine original compositions and an arrangement of the Cole Porter classic, “Begin the Beguine.” (The title of the album was also a nod to Porter’s “Night and Day.”) When we did an interview back in 2006, Lisa and I chatted at length about the small number of women jazz pianists compared to men, and I’m not sure that has changed much. Classically-trained from a young age, Hilton has some very impressive playing chops, which are fully on display on this new album. Recorded on a Steinway D grand piano, Hilton’s touch varies from deep, plush velvet to electrifying extended trills, glissandos and runs up and down the piano keyboard. Fully in command of her instrument, I always really appreciate being able to listen to just her as a solo artist, although I enjoy the ensemble music, too.

"Day & Night" begins with “Caffeinated Culture,” an upbeat Latin-infused dance piece that gets things rolling with spirit and a smile. The title track is made up of a complex combination of themes and moods woven together to tell a story. Sometimes light and breezy and sometimes darker and more serious, it’s a fascinating study in contrasts. “Begin the Beguine” is truly an American classic and Hilton’s arrangement is fresh while remaining true to the original. “Sunrise” is delicate with shades of pastel colors and a sense of peaceful calm as the earth slowly comes back to life. “Stepping Into Paradise” is an interesting mix of musical genres that defies categorization. Bright and up-tempo, there are hints of blues, classical, pop and jazz that all work together well to make this a story told from a unique perspective. “A Spark in the Night” is a favorite. Bluesy and kind of slinky, it’s the perfect lead-in to “Seduction,” a piece that dates back to Hilton’s 1997 debut album by the same name and has appeared on six of her albums. In one of our interviews, Hilton said she has made “Seduction” her “signature piece,” but that it keeps changing. There’s nothing wrong with that! Listening to “Seduction” is always a treat with its dark, smoky blues and sexy funk that Hilton does so well, and it’s fun to hear what the changes are. “Dark Sky Day” is soulful and melancholy, stylistically residing somewhere between Chopin and Led Zeppelin (that ought to get some attention!). “So This Is Love” isn’t the song from Disney’s Cinderella. It’s a peaceful and contented original piece that comes from the heart. “Sunset At the Beach” paints a blissful picture one of my favorite scenarios. Serene with occasional splashes of bright musical color, it’s a wonderful ending to a great album.

"Day & Night" is an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys the softer side of jazz piano. Recommended!