Lisa Hilton: Pianist/Composer/Producer/Bandleader Bio
Lisa Hilton is driven to compose. She plays at the highest level, yet there is a unique force inside her compositions that surge with ideas, and emotion. The piano, her instrument, is what Hilton refers to as her true “voice” and the way she connects. “When I play, I’m communicating our world through these notes” Hilton muses. Her compositions – rich in blues inflections and soul – make precise use of harmony and rhythm, welcoming listeners into a unique exchange between composer and listener, a human intersection where magic happens. The result is a fresh sound that is evocative, smart, engaging and infused with a 21st century sensibility. Hilton says “I feel very strongly that this generation of jazz artists will create a body of work that will become the classics of the future.” Listeners and critics far and wide agree and applaud her skill and range as a composer and pianist. Hilton is variously described as “pensive and impressionistic,” “elegant, warm and passionate,” and even “diabolically seductive.” Her 2011 Underground recording prompted one expert to opine, “She's joined the ranks of her own contemporary heroes," while JazzReview simply dubbed her “The Lioness of Jazz.”
Hilton believes in tradition that is expressed in new ways, honoring the history of classical music, twentieth century music and American jazz and blues in her broad compositional palette. Musically inspired by everyone from Beethoven to Basie, Prokofiev to Pops, Debussy to Duke, and of course Monk, Miles Muddy Waters, she sees the twenty first century coming of age musically. “Music today combines elements of our past in new ways that speak of contemporary life." She injects every ounce of color, every relationship, every observation and insight into her music and every note filters through authentic experience and reaches out to listeners. As a California native, her music reveals her love of outdoor pursuits as well as the verve of urban scenes. As a child and young classical piano student, she learned that music was to be studied and played. As an art major in college she studied the meaning and concepts of art and design and as an adult, she realized that the inner pull she had always felt was the impulse to compose music as an art form for today.
As a bandleader, Hilton attracts world-class players who share her gift for expression and invention. Her current line-up boasts bassist Larry Grenadier, drummer Marcus Gilmore, and saxophonist J.D. Allen. She produces an album a year of her own compositions and arrangements, totaling 16 CDs and 175+ iTunes tracks which garner critical acclaim, awards and worldwide radio airplay.
Such stature might be enough for most, but Hilton’s energies have found a deeply satisfying outlet conducting workshops and playing with young musicians at the historic Perkins School for the Blind near Boston, The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired, The Junior Blind of America in L.A. and their Camp Bloomfield in Malibu, and the Berklee College of Music in Boston among other youth-oriented programs.
Hilton states her musical objective clearly: “The object of artistic expression is to express and communicate. It is my desire to touch other people deeply with what I create musically”.
Hilton’s website is: www.LisaHiltonMusic.com.