lisa hilton playing piano at the village studios

Yep, we did it! We recorded a new jazz album, and it was the culmination of six creative months composing during an unprecedented time in America’s history. Whew!

This year recording new music, like everything else, was different of course. Every studio date seems like a miracle to have the band/engineers/studio/piano all available on the same day. The logistics – more like a complex dance – to find a studio that was open and had good safety procedures in place, were more involved than in the past, but thankfully everything finally came together. I decided on recording at The Village Studios in West Los Angeles this year because they are a top studio, (with an illustrious history), and also have approval from the City of Los Angeles to remain open despite any lock down in California. In addition, they were very kind to me during my evacuation from the Woolsey fire almost two years ago, and I like to work with kind people.

Despite all the preliminary work, scheduling, and pandemic precautions, once we enter the studio, everything changes for musicians. We are able to focus 100% on our art, our instruments, the moment, and sound itself. You do hear stories about musicians having difficult times in recording sessions, and there is stress to get things “right”, but I love the act of creating music in the moment with the highest quality sound. Awesome bandmates Rudy Royston and Luques Curtis, top engineer Chandler Harrod, (with Karl Wingate assisting), perfect studio acoustics, and of course, the big nine foot Steinway D that was loaned to me for recording. (This year I was told the piano was a favorite of film composer John Williams – well, it was fabulous!)

So, how did we do? Hmmm… I have a rule that I don’t “judge” until I’m all done. In the studio your senses and emotions are heightened: I think the worst thing you can do is judge under those kinds of conditions, because the tendency is to think it’s the best thing, or the worst thing you’ve ever heard! So in the studio we play at the top of our abilities with freedom from over-analyzing. Those are the euphoric moments for me – when the music comes alive after months of thought, trials, and efforts magically blossoming in real time into a creation we will share with the world. To say that it is an incredibly cool experience is a huge understatement – those are the moments the composer lives for – it feels like the birth of music itself.

Enjoy these last couple weeks of summer,


close up images of lisa hilton at the village studios with her bandmates and recording engineer