May 5, 2012

The Featured Artist - Lisa Hilton!

Lisa Hilton’s new album American Impressions is now available!

We are pleased to be featuring Lisa Hilton‘s new album, along with her incredible music. If you like jazz, this collection is for you! Lisa will be featured on throughout the week, so be sure to check in with us, and let others know.

As read on Lisa’s Biography at

Lisa Hilton is driven to compose. While she plays at the highest level, the driving force of her art is inside her superbly dynamic compositions. They surge with ideas, and emotion. Hilton refers to her instrument, the piano, as her true “voice” – the way she speaks and connects. “When I play, I’m communicating our world through the notes,” Hilton muses.

Her compositions – rich in blues inflections and soul – make precise use of harmony and rhythm, welcoming audiences into a unique exchange between composer and listener, a human intersection where magic happens. The result is a fresh sound that is evocative, smart, engaging and infused with a 21st century sensibility. Hilton says, “I feel very strongly that this generation of jazz artists will create a body of work that will become the classics of the future.”

Listeners and critics far and wide agree and applaud her skill and range as a composer and pianist. Hilton is variously described as “pensive and impressionistic,” “elegant, warm and passionate,” and even “diabolically seductive.” Her 2011 Underground recording prompted one expert to opine, “She’s joined the ranks of her own contemporary heroes," while JazzReview succinctly dubbed her “The Lioness of Jazz.”

Born in a small town on the central Californian coast, Hilton first taught herself to play and compose simple pieces before starting formal education in classical and twentieth century piano literature at the age of eight. She drew inspiration from stories about her great uncle, Willem Bloemendaal, an early 20th century Dutch piano virtuoso. Hilton never missed a chance to play, providing piano accompaniment to school chorus and theatre productions, playing flute in band, and composing blues riffs as a teen.

Hilton believes in tradition that is expressed in new ways, honoring the history of classical music, 20th century music, and American jazz, blues and minimalism in her broad compositional palette. Musically inspired by everyone from Beethoven to Basie, Prokofiev to Pops, Debussy to Duke, and of course Monk, Miles, Muddy Waters and Mr. Jelly Roll Morton. She sees the 21st century coming of age musically. “Music today,” she says, “combines elements of our past in new ways that speak of contemporary life." Hilton’s music reveals this native Californian’s love of outdoor pursuits as well as the verve of urban scenes. She injects every ounce of color, every relationship, every observation and insight into her music so that every note filters through authentic experience, making a direct connection to the listener. As a child and young classical piano student, Hilton learned that music was to be studied, explored, and played. As an art major in college, she studied the meaning and concepts of art and design. As an adult, she realized that the inner pull she had always felt was the impulse to compose music as an art form for today. Hilton clearly states now what she hopes to achieve: “The object of art is to express and communicate and move others. It is always my desire to touch people deeply through the art in my music.”

As a performer and bandleader, she attracts world-class players who share her gift for expression and invention and has played with some of the finest musicians in jazz: Christian McBride, Lewis Nash, Bobby Militello, Jeremy Pelt, Brice Winston, Reggie McBride and Steve Wilson, to name a few. Her current line-up boasts Down Beat Magazine Critics Choice Winners bassist Larry Grenadier, drummer Nasheet Waits, and saxophonist J.D. Allen, all of whom join her on her 2012 release entitled American Impressions. Hilton produces an album a year of her own compositions and arrangements, totaling 16 CDs and 170+ iTunes tracks which garner critical acclaim, awards, and worldwide radio airplay

Such stature might be enough for most, but Hilton’s energies have found a deeply satisfying outlet conducting workshops and playing with young musicians at the historic Perkins School for the Blind near Boston, The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired, The Junior Blind of America in L.A. and their Camp Bloomfield in Malibu, and the Berklee College of Music Adaptive Music Lab For The Blind in Boston among other youth-oriented programs.


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