Lisa Hilton@Catalina’s 05.16.13

This past month has been filled with trios coming through LA. From Brad Mehldau & The Bad Plus to Jason Moran, as well as Bill Cunliffe and Emily Bear, it seems like paradise for fans of intimate jazz. So, do they all sound the same, or is there something special about each team?

Local pianist/composer Lisa Hilton’s Trio came to Catalina’s on Thursday on the throes of her most recent album, Getaway, a different tasting treat as well. Together with her NYC based partners of Gregg August/b and Jaimeo Brown/dr, she delved into her own compositions that felt like audible paintings, with each touch on the piano feeling like the stroke of a brush, creating sonic oil based landscapes on an ivory canvas.

Her songs are not of the standard “state the theme and blow” conception; rather, her tunes like the elliptical “Stop and Go” or tempo changing “Just For Fun” have each artist creating a part of a holistic entity. On “Stepping into Paradise” for example , her fingers dance over the keys in chiming notes in response to Brown’s conversant hand work on the drums, while on “Lost and Found” she creates a scene reminiscent of a Mexican table dance assertively going mano a mano with the drummer’s tenacious sticks. Her unaccompanied “When It Rains” brought reflections of Monet, while the slinky blues of “City Streets” contrasted with the agitated undercurrent of “Subway.” By the time she closed with the sepia toned “Seduction,” Ms Hilton showed that one of the many colors of jazz can be emphasized in the interplay between the artists, and not just on a soloist, a lesson well delivered this show on the Merry Month of May


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