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Album Review: Getaway
Lisa Hilton
Cover image of the album Getaway by Lisa Hilton
Lisa Hilton
2013 / Ruby Slippers
61 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
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. It is available from lisahiltonmusic.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
April 9, 2013
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