Jazz pianist/composer Lisa Hilton returned Friday with her latest album, Life Is Beautiful. The album’s release came less than a year after the release of her then latest album, Transparent Sky, which was released in September. The 11-song album is a thoroughly enjoyable follow-up to that record, too, as the varied arrangements show. One of the most notable of the album’s entries is ‘Unforgotten Moments, Half Forgotten Dreams,’ which serves as part of the album’s midpoint. It will be discussed shortly. ‘More Than Another Day,’ the album’s penultimate entry, is another notable addition to the album. It will be discussed a little later. ‘Retro Road Trip,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is yet another notable way in which the album shows its strength. It will be examined later, too. Each song noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Life Is Beautiful. When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the record a beautiful addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.
Life Is Beautiful, the latest studio recording from Lisa Hilton, is a presentation that her established audiences and jazz fans alike will enjoy. That is proven from the album’s opening to its end. One of the strongest examples of what makes the album so enjoyable is ‘Unforgotten Moments, Half Forgotten Dreams.’ Hilton wrote of this song in the album’s liner notes that it “seems to express the last two years – moments never before experienced that will not be forgotten, sandwiched in our psyche with previous dreams from the “olden days” of 2019.” Those moments were and have been anything but positive. They have been downright depressing and tumultuous. Keeping that in mind, the light, bluesy approach that Hilton and her fellow musicians take here — that light touch on the piano that gradually builds in the “verses” alongside the steady time keeping — really does so well to echo the mood that so many people worldwide have felt over the past couple of years. The gradual decline that the song takes does just as well to echo how people have felt because it really has seemed like that light at the end of the tunnel just won’t appear. To that end, this bluesy tune makes for its own musical therapy and standout moment from the album. It is just one of the songs that shows what this album has to offer, too. ‘More Than Another Day,’ which comes late in the album, is another notable addition to the album.
‘More Than Another Day’ is completely driven by Hilton’s work on the keys. The composition is a smooth, flowing work that clearly echoes the influences of Miles Davis and Bill Evans that Hilton notes played into the song’s creation. Clocking in at just under six minutes (five minutes 54 seconds to be exact), there is the most subtle bluesy touch to Hilton’s performance here. The way the chords flow and compliment the drum fills and solid time keeping makes for so much enjoyment in the overall subtle approach here. It is just one more enjoyable way in which Life Is Beautiful shows its strength. ‘Retro Road Trip’ is one more way in which the album shows how much it has to offer.
Hilton wrote of ‘Retro Road Trip’ in the album’s liner notes, that song’s syncopated ,percussive approach came from her own classical training. The interesting thing is that said approach really likens itself to work from the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s timeless hit ‘Take 5.’ While clearly different, the two songs’ stylistic approaches and overall sounds are so similar. Hilton and company’s song still boasts its own identity even with the comparison, and that really makes this song all the more enjoyable. When this song, in all of its ensured engagement and entertainment, is considered with the other arrangements examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album overall its own “beautiful” new offering from Hilton and company.
Lisa Hilton’s latest album, Life Is Beautiful, is a work that her established audiences and jazz fans alike will agree is a welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums. That is proven from start to finish in each of its 11 total songs. The songs examined here each do well to support the noted statements. The songs’ backgrounds and variety in their sounds and styles makes that clear. When the songs examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Life Is Beautiful a “beautiful” new offering from Hilton and her fellow musicians.
Life Is Beautiful is available through her own label, Lisa Hilton Music. More information on the album is available along with all of Lisa Hilton’s latest news at:
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