Reviews

Read the Review
Chad VanGaalen

Read the Review
Potengowski Anna Friederike

Read the Review
Todd Rundgren

Read the Review
Old 97's

Read the Review
Needles//Pins

Read the Review
Ohama

Read the Review
Nicolas Horvath

Read the Review
Hugo Wolf Quartet

Read the Review
Heat

Read the Review
Parallels

Read the Review
Monica Chapman

Read the Review
Alexis Baro & Pueblo Nuevo Jazz Project

Read the Review
Jenny Wren and Her Borrowed Wings

Read the Review
Andrew Collins Trio

Read the Review
Drive-By Truckers

Read the Review
Parker Abbott Trio

Read the Review
Petunia & The Vipers

Read the Review
Mstrkrft

Share |


Cover Art

Lisa Hilton ( )

Sunny Day Theory
Ruby Slippers ( )

Pianist Lisa Hilton’s latest offering is a mixed bag of originals and instrumental arrangements of hits from the folk, pop and jazz world. The titles of her original compositions speak to her life in California. “After the Fire” alludes to the all too frequent fires that that state has witnessed in the recent past and the ever present beautiful surroundings are represented with titles like “Malibu Morning” and “Sunset at the Beach.”

Hilton is an excellent pianist and shows off her ensemble playing throughout Sunny Day Theory, with some complex rhythms as in “Melt Down.” I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this music as a theme for a yet to be thought up radio show on CBC or NPR. It’s very catchy. Yet, she takes a more bare-bones approach for Hoagy Carmichael’s “Skylark” and it also works. She also shows she can play the blues and tears it up good on the Zawinul composition. Playing alongside Hilton, is Lewis Nash on drums, Larry Grenadier, bass and Bruce Winston on tenor sax. The latter appears on around half of the tracks. On the opening track, the mambo “Heat Wave,” the interplay between Winston and Hilton cooks, with the sax playing most lead parts and the piano used as strong support. Winston also takes it up a notch for their arrangement of the late Joe Zawinul’s “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.” 

The first time I heard this CD, the musician that stood out the most on it was the drummer Lewis Nash. His intro on “So Blue” sets up Hilton’s wonderful, bluesy piano and he tears it up on the opening mambo. Bassist Larry Grenadier is pretty much the best bass player in American contemporary jazz, so I can’t really add anything about his playing that hasn’t already been said. Perhaps the only down side of this CD for me was the choice of pop/folk covers. I found the arrangement of Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” to border on elevator music and even Grenadier’s strong bass line couldn’t save it. And horror of horrors, I’m getting a little tired of jazz musicians covering Joni Mitchell’s work (and, yes I am the guy that gave Herbie Hancock’s “River : the Jonie Letters” a glowing review).Hilton covers Mitchell’s “Ladies of the Canyon,” in a somewhat nostalgic fashion (according to her liner notes), yet I find little inspiration in this arrangement. Lisa Hilton’s liner notes, also tell of recent emotional upheavals in her life. It is not uncommon that an artist will take inspiration from such events. I feel most of Hilton’s strongest tracks are her original compositions, like the previously mentioned “Melt Down” and ominous sounding “After the Fire.” Her dark piano and Nash’s drumming really got to me on this track.

Overall I enjoyed Sunny Day Theory. The musicianship is well above average and although I found a lack of focus thematically, that probably makes little difference in an i-tunes world where tracks are often purchased individually.

By Jim Dupuis
Jan 30, 2009

[reviews home] [list reviews]
 
comments powered by Disqus

More Reviews By Jim Dupuis

Cover ArtLeslie Alexander
Nobody's Baby
(Self-Released)
Jun 13, 2011
Cover ArtBob Brough Quartet
Time Away
(Self-Released)
Oct 21, 2008
Cover ArtLaura Crema
Spring Is Here
(Maximum)
Dec 21, 2007
Cover ArtKevin Dean Quartet
A Message From The Dean
(Cellar Live)
Nov 19, 2011
Cover ArtBrandi Disterheft
Debut
(Superfran)
Jul 27, 2007
Cover ArtAnita Eccleston Trio
Jazz
(Self-Released)
Nov 19, 2011
Cover ArtHerbie Hancock
River: The Joni Letters
(Verve)
Jul 1, 2008
Cover Art Klezfactor
Klezmachine
(Self-Released)
May 18, 2009
Cover Art Lesismore
As Much As I Need
(Self-Released)
Nov 25, 2007
Cover ArtCarol McCartney
A Night In Tunisia
(CBC)
Jul 27, 2007
Cover ArtMichael McClennan
Sing In Me Muse
(Self-Released)
Aug 31, 2007
Cover Art Nightcrawlers
Down In The Bottom
(Cellar Live)
Apr 22, 2011
Cover ArtMichael Occhipinti and Creation Dream
Chasing After Light
(True North)
Jun 5, 2007
Cover ArtElizabeth Shepherd
Heavy Falls The Night
(Do Right! Music)
Mar 22, 2010
Cover ArtElizabeth Shepherd
Rewind
(Linus Entertainment)
Mar 27, 2012
Cover ArtJohn Southworth & Andrew Downing
Easterween
(Sud De Valeur)
Mar 26, 2012
Cover ArtAdam Thomas and the Mike Allen Quartet
For My Love
(Pumpkin Pie Music)
May 13, 2010
Cover ArtBrad Turner Quartet
It's That Time
(Cellar Live)
Aug 23, 2011
header bottom