Very interesting piano jazz here from a woman who has already received quite a few accolades and enticed top-notch players and producers to sit in (this time, it's Larry Grenadier, Al Schmitt, and etc.). Twilight & Blues is all instrumental—half covers, half originals. Covers are always a great attraction to the buying public, and I'm an unrepentant sucker for 'em, often judging a CD by the intelligence of its choices, which here are top-notch, but Hilton also demonstrates a rather surprising vivacity in her own compositions, one that contrasts nicely against a foundation of more laid back attentions to classicalia.
Especially on City Streets, she takes an engrossing and delightful angularity that turns the listener's head around after a re-do of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On. Bleeding Brubeck's playfulness with Makoto Ozone's abstract strains, she infects bassist Nash to turn in an identically inspired solo with left field underpinnings. In fact, especially in Hiltion's scaled ascensions, I detected a touch of Steve Lacy. The song makes you laugh and utter a surprised "Whoa!" simultaneously.
Turbulent Street demonstrates the degree of emphasis she can wring from a predominantly delicate style often based in minor chords and runs. In fact, 'delicate' best describes her entire mode. She has an exceedingly refined touch (Lewis Nash's gently narrative drums supporting it quite nicely) that creates lace and filigree time and again, an almost Art Nouveau approach spiced with Deco and positive street modernism. On the one hand, while the CD relaxes the listener, the level of intelligence and carefully modulated élan imbues a high degree of interactivity.
Twilight & Blues is a serious effort in the direction of one of the markedly striking forms jazz had taken not long ago—West Coast Cool (Hilton, aptly enough, lives in Malibu, California)—but too soon abandoned. Bill Evans would love this disc, and Chet Baker would swoon, so I suggest that anyone wanting to expand once again into that beloved style check this highly skilled pianist out. Soon. Like right now.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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