Musically inspired by her visits to Manhattan, Malibu based pianist/composer/producer Lisa Hilton recorded her ninth release in New York City, home to some of the greatest jazz musicians in the world. Joined by Christian McBride on bass, Lewis Nash on drums, Jeremy Pelt on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Steve Wilson on sax, Hilton seduces the listener with her beautiful melodies, thoughtful arrangements and strong performances from her band.
“I grew up listening to my mom playing Standards on the piano, so I inherited a love for an enduring melody”, Hilton explains. “Improvising is an exciting and inherent aspect of jazz, but our ears will always cherish an expressive melody, so that’s something emphasize”. Besides Hilton’s evocative piano soloing, “The New York Sessions” includes some impressive playing by jazz royalty: McBride, Nash, Pelt and Wilson. “As a producer and a player, these guys were my ‘Dream Team’”, comments Hilton.
Hilton teamed once again with eighteen-time Grammy Award winning engineer/producer, Al Schmitt. “Al can record a piano better than anyone else alive”, Hilton comments, “He’s the best, and it’s been great for me to work with him”. In composing, Hilton draws from many sources, “I love the melodies of our Great American Standards, and the rhythmic hooks of Classic Jazz, but I’m influenced by classical and current music too – everything from Rock to Rachmaninoff can work!” Hilton says that in particular, Chick Corea’s “Crystal Silence”, and the perennial favorite, “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis were touchstones for her. “Those albums are beautiful, well played, challenging and still melodic”, she muses, “and they continue to touch us over and over again”.