"Getaway" is jazz pianist/composer Lisa Hilton’s fifteenth release as a bandleader and her seventeenth album to date (her first two albums were solo piano). Her current trio includes bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Nasheet Waits and, together, the three artists present an impressive selection of instrumentals that are as effortless as they are eclectic. Of the thirteen tracks, eleven are Hilton originals while the two covers are Earl “Fatha” Hines’ “Stormy Monday Blues” and Adele’s “Turning Tables.” I’ve always loved Hilton’s blues compositions and arrangements, and a few of those are included as well. Explaining the origin of the title, Hilton says: “'Getaway' is about finding freedom in our busy, technologically distracted lives - whether we get up and move, or renew ourselves through art, music, nature or with friends. For me, music and art are the original social networks.” Further, “Conceptually the title 'Getaway' also references our need to ‘get away’ from what we were doing musically last century.” A very versatile musician with a strong background in classical music as well as jazz, Hilton always offers at least a few surprises, mixing traditional and innovative contemporary jazz stylings in her own unique way. Hilton’s piano is front and center, but she gives her bandmates plenty of room to shine.
The album begins with the title track, a rhythmic, breezy piece that never stops moving. I love “Just For Fun,” which is as lighthearted and playful as the title implies. Upbeat and bluesy without taking itself too seriously, this is definitely one of my favorites! I really like “Stormy Monday Blues,” too. More on the traditional side, the cool and catchy rhythms send the piano soaring - Grenadier gets a chance to solo on this one, too. “Lost & Found” picks up the pace with a much edgier sound that is sometimes playful and sometimes straight-ahead improvisation. “Emergency” increases the dark and edgy factors as it goes into the chaos and confusion of a true emergency. Hilton’s poignant take on “Turning Tables” brings us back to a graceful and lyrical mode that again demonstrates what a versatile artist she is. “Unforgotten” returns to blues while “Stop & Go” has an updated boogie-woogie rhythm that really cooks - sure to bring a grin! I love the dark intensity of “Slow Down” and Grenadier’s a great bass solo at the end. I have to admit that I’m still partial to solo piano, and Hilton’s “Huckleberry Moon” is a fantastic closing track. Melodic with an optimistic flair, the gentle rhythms are as intoxicating and as they are carefree.
Lisa Hilton has been one of my favorite jazz pianists for a long time, and "Getaway" does not disappoint. Recommended!
Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus
Lisa Hilton, who has been called “The Lioness Of Jazz,” is pleased to present her latest release, "Getaway," which is, incredibly, her fifteenth album as a bandleader. On the recording, Lisa reprises her collaborative chemistry with all-star bandmates, bassist Larry Grenadier (whose recording credits include Pat Metheney, Chick Corea, and more) and drummer Nasheet Waits (who played with Jason Moran and Kurt Rosenwinkel, among others). The jazz trio is a perfect format, providing three strong musical personalities plenty of space to make their presence felt, individually and collectively. The album gets off to a rolling start with the title track. An excellent music video for this song, which can be seen at Lisa’s website, perfectly captures the mood of the piece. It starts out with Lisa beginning the getaway by loading her luggage into the trunk of a classic ’61 Corvette convertible and hitting the road. And the theme of forward momentum is certainly personified in this piece, which, like Lisa in the Corvette, musically puts the hammer down and lets the good times roll with an adventurous modal romp. The getaway has begun!
The next stop on the journey is a bouncy bluesy tune called “Just For Fun,” which allows Lisa plenty of latitude to detour down some of the more avant-garde side streets she is known to frequent. One of my favorites, and a most interesting musical inclusion on the album is an instrumental version of a soulful tune by Grammy-winning British pop vocalist Adele entitled “Turning Tables.” It’s a much more intimate rendering than the original and draws you into its wistful air. In the only non-trio piece, Lisa brings the album to a relatively laidback conclusion with a solo piano composition called “Huckleberry Moon.” This song, for me, evoked somewhat of a rustic Windham Hill vibe compared to the urban jazz influences, which are present in some of Lisa’s playing. While many musicians shine in a singular style, Lisa Hilton’s musical world reflects a rainbow, and her latest release, "Getaway," is like a pot of gold at the end of it.