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Album Review: My Favorite Things
Lisa Hilton
Cover image of the album My Favorite Things by Lisa Hilton
My Favorite Things
Lisa Hilton
2005 / Lisa Hilton Music
50 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
My Favorite Things is a collection of “everyone’s favorites - from jazz classics to movie themes with new music I think you’ll like, too,” recorded and arranged by pianist Lisa Hilton and her jazz ensemble. Eight of the fourteen tracks are Hilton’s originals, including “Seduction,” which has appeared on a couple of Hilton’s previous albums (a knockout piece!). On some of Hilton’s previous ensemble albums, I thought the piano was too much in the background, but that’s not the case with My Favorite Things. Hilton lets her fellow bandmates (Eric Marienthal on sax and flute, Tal Bergman on drums, and Reggie McBride on bass) shine, but the piano takes the lead on most of the tracks on this album. Hilton’s classy, fluid jazz stylings are easy to listen to and enjoy both in the foreground and as a backdrop for other activities.

The CD opens with “Let’s Go!,” one of Hilton’s compositions. Energetic and upbeat, this piece really moves. My Favorite Things is a silky-smooth arrangement of the Rogers and Hammerstein classic, played a bit darker than you usually hear it, but it works well, and there is a beautiful interplay between piano and sax. “Take Five” is the Paul Desmond classic made popular by Dave Brubeck - a really tasty arrangement. “Midnight Sky” is another Hilton original - cool, dark and mysterious - I like it! “Desafinado” is another silky take on a jazz classic - flowing, warm, and contented. Hilton and company give “Alfie” a feeling of longing and sadness - an ideal slow dance! “Clearly” is the only solo piano track on this album, and it’s a sweetly reflective gem. Like many of Hilton’s fans, I think her “Seduction” is one of her best pieces. Talk about slinky! The sax gives the piece even more of an attitude and adds to the fun. “So This Is Love” dances on air with a sense of wonder and joy. “Changes” closes out the album on a introspective note. This piece has such a strong melody that it’s easy to imagine the song with lyrics (although they certainly aren’t needed!). A nice, smooth finish!

My Favorite Things is a most enjoyable album, offering a blend of more serious music and good-time tunes. This is my favorite of Lisa Hilton’s ensemble albums (so far!). It is available from lisahiltonmusic.com, amazon.com, and cdbaby.com. Recommended for smooth jazz aficionados.
December 21, 2005
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