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
"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.

“Closer scrutiny reveals nuanced choices and numerous unforeseen turns. Hilton, brings an emotionalism to the simplest of ideas; layers of depth appear when you least expect them.” Jeff Tamarkin/Jazz times

“Hilton's imagination runs the gambit from dead serious to whimsical…her formidable left hand moves in some dynamic directions. Perfect Listening music”. C. Michael Bailey/All About Jazz

“Fantastic new CD from Lisa Hilton. We love her version of Begin The Beguine.” Toppy Jazz the #1Jazz Station in Europe

“Solo piano jazz…Lisa Hilton owns this art brilliantly: soft touch, subtle but very significant swing, a deep connection with the jazz tradition – especially the blues, and of course the beauty of the execution.” Jazz Quad/Russia

“Hilton returns with another CD of solo piano, beautifully played and expressive.” KZSU Radio Stanford University

“DAY & NIGHT allows Lisa Hilton to keep the spotlight for herself, and she does not disappoint. She has both the chops and soul to keep you constantly listening.” Straight No Chaser podcast with Jeffrey Siegel

“Rich with elegance and energy, with refined technique, performances & interesting improvisation.” AnimaJxpazz/Italy

“Hilton’s playing is quite lovely.” WTJU Radio

“Beautiful – I’m speechless 5 out of 5 rating.” SURF RADIO/Hossegor, France

“One of my favorite jazz pianists – I like her style- sophisticated.” FM URIQUIZA/Argentina

“Lovely Album! Some of the nicest music I've heard this year.” WUNH Radio

“Hilton’s DAY& NIGHT is her best yet… wonderful work!” Pete Hammond/ 2MAXFM/AUSTRALIA

“Straight and well produced solo piano. Always well done!” WRTC/Bob Parzych

“I have liked this artist for many years.” CKIA/Quebec City/Canada

“Hilton’s music is sweet and full of life.” ANUHEA REFRESHING JAZZ/Hilo, Hawaii

“This is an impressive album… Hilton paints her masterpieces with deeply felt inspiration. The composers’ universe is at its most expansive in the profoundly beautiful and brooding masterpiece, “Dark Sky Day” which seems to meld surrealism and impressionism in the grand manner”. JazzdaGama/Canada

“I was immediately drawn into her music…it takes my breath away.” Center Stage with Pamela Kuhn/WGCH

“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 by beauty”. Hugh Carson/KVNF Radio

“Outstanding. The recording and production of the album is impeccable.” No Solo Jazz/Madrid

“Beautiful sound.” BondiFM NSW/Australia “Keyboard lust.” MGZC Radio/NC

“Expressive, eloquent compositions and playing.” Will Call/Grey Lock Glass Podcast Network

“Fully in command of her instrument, Hilton’s touch varies from deep, plush velvet to electrifying extended trills, glissandos and runs up and down the piano keyboard.”

For Day & Night “Hilton delves into her own songbook to create more deep brush strokes to her works of art. A strong addition to an already impressive portfolio.” George Harris/JazzWeekly

“Hilton is in player in full command of the nuances of her instrument. Her approach is a welcome expanse of dynamics and tonal variety, enabling her to conjure aural pictures in a richly impressionistic style. Memorably resonant original songs….and gentle pianistic fireworks.” George Kanzler/Hothouse Jazz Guide

“Letting it fly with just jazz piano ace Lisa Hilton front & center, you really get a chance to appreciate what a killer pianist she is. Tasty stuff that's a great centerpiece to her canon.” Midwest Record

“Pure passion in motion…” Jazz Quarterly: TasteMaker Honors

“Day & Night just might be the tonic this nation needs…everyday treasures that strengthen the bonds of humankind are intrinsic to the music of Lisa Hilton.” AXS/Carol Banks Weber

“Hilton explores music as art and paints texture and color through jazz approaches. Her originals convey many of Cole Porter’s compositional integrity.” Sounds of Timeless Jazz/Paula Edelstein

“Soothing yet complex solo piano music. Hilton likes to spread the wealth of her influences from the simplistic one-note three-times-fast like Count Basie or the meanderings of the complex jazzer Horace Silver.” Classical Lite

“It takes a very talented and confident artist to record a complete album as a soloist. In the spotlight Hilton’s fingers race around the keys, demanding the best from all the notes.” Musical Memoirs Jazz Blog/Dee Dee McNeil 2016 Jazz Album of the Year Runner Up, 2017 #6 Radio Chart, TOP 22 JAZZWEEK CHART

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!