“WOW! A quantum leap compositionally, as well as the overall aura. Hilton has an absolutely unique and beautiful sound – BRAVO!”
– Hugh Carson, KVNF Radio
“My favorite album we’ve worked on, there’s a lot of great music!”
– Al Schmitt, 23 time Grammy Award Winning Engineer
“We live in an exciting time of constant change…” is the introductory quote from composer and acclaimed pianist Lisa Hilton in the liner notes for her new release Chalkboard Destiny, recorded with jazz luminaries JD Allen on tenor sax, Rudy Royston on drums and Luques Curtis on bass. It’s an appropriate prelude for an album that unfolds with the track “Rush Hour Rhapsody” – quickly exposing the listener to the shimmering energy of Hilton’s band.
Hilton conveys that the concept behind Chalkboard Destiny is the idea that our future, our destiny, can be continually reshaped, implying that we are not beholden by history or traditional myths, allowing us a freedom in creation. The title track, “Chalkboard Destiny,” easily exhibits this concept with Royston’s rim shots crackling for attention. There’s also a hard-to-pin-down energy flowing between Allen’s explosive virtuoso displays, the dynamic details of Royston’s accents and the booming lines of Curtis’s bass alongside Hilton’s fluid piano. Allen’s solo in the middle of “Sympathy for Blues” is astounding, and along with Curtis’s agile bass, Royston’s touch and the laid back retro charm of Hilton’s piano.
Hilton shows her harmonic and emotional depth with her tender ballad, “Temporary Lullaby,” as well as the moving “Waltz From Nowhere.” The Joni Mitchell classic “Blue Boy” showcases the compatibility of this group – Allen’s dusky tenor a contrast to his band mates. Tracks “Tropic of Tango,” “Myths & Fantasy,” and “Adventures & Alibis” all explore Latin rhythms and engaging harmonic ideas as well. “Café au Mojo” is a bright piece where traditional ideas abound. It’s noteworthy that GRAMMY® Award-winning engineers – Al Schmitt, Gavin Lurssen, Reuben Cohen, Fernando Lodeiro contributed to the sound.
About Lisa Hilton: Hilton’s style influences extend beyond jazz legends Thelonious Monk, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington, to include bluesman Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, to classical giants like Chopin. Hilton’s releases consistently sustain her profile as a consistent composer, pianist, producer and bandleader. She also performs at venues across the US from the Weill Recital Hall within the legendary Carnegie Hall to Chicago’s historic Green Mill and is known her expressive technique at the piano as well as for her warmth and storytelling on stage.
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 music program, she switched majors and received a degree in art instead. Ever since becoming a professional musician, this background in the fine arts has well informed Hilton’s composition process. Committed to helping students who are often overlooked, for years Hilton has regularly spent time to help blind students at the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston, The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who are Blind, Jr. Blind of America, Camp Bloomfield for the Blind, and The Berklee College in Boston and their adaptive music lab for visually impaired. “I enjoy extending help to those with physical disabilities – music should be for everyone,” Hilton says.
1/9/20 CARNEGIE HALL / WEILL HALL / NYC / 8PM
2/21 / SF JAZZ/ San Francisco, CA / 8PM
2/22 / KUUMBWA JAZZ CENTER/ Santa Cruz, CA / 7:30 pm
2/23 / PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY / Malibu, CA / 8PM
4/14 / PERKINS SCHOOL / Boston, MA
4/15/ THE RED ROOM AT CAFÉ 939 / Boston, MA 8PM
4/16 / BUDDY GUY’S LEGENDS / 6 PM Chicago