"twilight & blues" is Lisa Hilton’s eleventh release in as many years and consists of five original pieces and five covers that Hilton feels are “iconic songs that have been able to touch hearts of all ages for decades, while still addressing important social concerns as well.” Lisa Hilton and her piano are joined by Lewis Nash on drums, Larry Grenadier on bass, Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, and JD Allen on tenor sax. I have loved Hilton’s blues compositions and arrangements since I first heard her music quite a few years ago, so this album is right up my alley. My only complaint is that there are so few piano solos, but I know how much Hilton loves collaborating with other great musicians, so I’ll keep that to myself!
The opening track is an uptempo tribute to daily life called “Pandemonium.” This Hilton original really cooks, with the full quintet taking part. Joni Mitchell’s classic, “Woodstock,” comes next. Accompanied only by drums and percussion, Hilton does a soulful rendition of this late-60’s classic. There are two versions of Marvin Gaye’s timeless “What’s Going On,” and both retain the spirit of the 1971 original. Isn’t it sad that the words are still so meaningful today? “City Streets” picks up the pace a bit with a trio for piano, bass, and drums that musically describes the sounds and excitement of the city in a bluesy style - love it! “Turbulent Blue” brings back the full quintet to personify the connection between sadness and anger - turbulent indeed! You don’t hear too many of Janis Joplin’s songs performed as piano solos, but Hilton’s take of Joplin’s “Kozmic Blues” is poignant and compelling. “Blue For You” is slinky blues for five, featuring Jeremy Pelt on muted trumpet - a little bit playful and a whole lotta soul. “Moon River” is the other piano solo, and what an incredibly beautiful job Hilton does with it! Elegant, flowing, and deeply emotional this is a terrific arrangement!
"twilight & blues" will delight Lisa Hilton’s many fans and is a great place to start if you are new to her music. Recommended!