Cynthia Hilts: Lyric Fury

Composer, pianist and vocalist, Cynthia Hilts mixes the free form bop of Charles Mingus with modern sounds and attitudes. She keeps things bona fide by bringing along Mingus alumnus Jack Walrath  on trumpet, but the team of Lisa Parrott/bs-ss, Lily White/as-ts, Deborah Weisz/tb, Marika Hughes/cel, Ratzo B Harris/b and Scott Neumann/dr don’t create any slack.

Hilts isn’t afraid to be innovative, and takes a Horace Silver theme like “Song For My Father” and twists it like Turkish Taffey on the fascinatingly splintered “Previously A Thing.” A mix of funk and reggae set the foundation for Walrath’s growling horn and Parrott

S crying bari sax during “Those Basinites” while the “Blues for theBronchs” has some slithering trumpet veer around the rich reeds. Neumann taps out a dirge for Parrott’s crying soprano on “Please, Mercy” , while the straight sax is lovely along with the leader’s piano on “Teacher.” A few of the tunes have the leader delivering a message, as she repeats her message along with Hughes’ cello and Walrath’s trumpet on “Peac Now” while delivering a funky sermon with the horns as the congregation on the preaching “ Celebration.” Hilts has moxie, and it’s hard to resist the passion.

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