Composer/pianist/band leader Lisa Hilton has completed her eighteenth release, NOCTURNAL with her most impressive band to date – Hilton again on keys, with Antonio Sanchez/drums, Terell Stafford/trumpet, Gregg August/bass and J.D. Allen on tenor sax. It was released January 22nd, 2016.
The eleven tracks show a remarkable emotional depth and clarity from all band members with plenty of virtuosic moments. For lovers of tradition, the title track Nocturnal, Whirlwind and the classic, Willow Weep for Me allow for Stafford’s fluid trumpet and flugelhorn and Allen’s husky tenor tone to shine.
The Latin flavored, Spark in the Night, showcases Sanchez and August and their extensive Latin backgrounds in a catchy and appealing way, while Twilight is impressionistic. A surprise choice is The Pixies’ Where is my Mind – so simply stated, then turning in another direction by the finale.
It’s on the bluesy Seduction and the tender An August Remembered that Hilton’s flowing lines and compositional ideas are highlighted. Also included is Hilton’s Midnight Sonata for piano, bass and drums: I. Symphony of Blues II. Desire and III. Midnight Stars.
“I have 200+ tracks on iTunes that I have composed or arranged now,” Hilton explains, “and felt inspired to create a larger work of music. Midnight Sonata merges a classical format with the freedom of American jazz and blues in a method I call trans-genre. Many of our great American composers composed in classical music that I have been inspired by: George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck to name a few. It was challenging as well as being a lot of fun compositionally.”
While the sonata form is in tact, Hilton used improvisation, blues, modal washes, shifting key centers, free jazz, impressionism and extended technique in creating a refreshing yet familiar vibe. NOCTURNAL is evocative, expressive and perfect for jazz and piano fans everywhere.
“Mastery of the keyboard…her music offers a unique blend of concepts and of past and future that’s quite beautiful…”
“melodic gifts and song-form clarity as both a composer and a player…”
The Buffalo News
“speaks subtly of Satie and sublimely of Ellington… and a whirl of Brubeckian piano….”
“Lisa Hilton has done a remarkable job.”
The New York Jazz City Record
“Lisa Hilton just gets better.”
WTJU Radio Virginia
“What a wonderful album.”
Exploring Jazz/WUNH New Hampshire
“Hilton’s compositions and melodies bear repeat listening…” – Audiophile Audition
“Lisa Hilton is one of the finest musical impressionists…she explores a stunning amount of original material on NOCTURNAL.”
Ken Franckling/Jazz Notes
“No one plays, writes or puts together a band better than this great, talented lady! NOCTURNAL is another in a growing list of deep excellent works from Hilton.”
Russ Davis/Voice of America
“NOCTURNAL is simply phenomenal. The composing and playing on this album is a tour de force. A quantum lead forward outward and upward for Hilton as a composer and she and her band have executed it flawlessly – truly an amazing group producing truly amazing music. This is the best album I’ve heard in a decade, maybe in two decades. Deserving of record of the year on anyone’s list.”