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Lisa Hilton: Getaway

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There are moments-quite a few of them-on Getaway that are so deceptively simple you might wonder for a moment if Lisa Hilton is playing games with your head. She proves often enough that she is a pianist of considerable ability, capable of depth and a wide emotional range. But sometimes she prefers to avoid all of that fussy stuff and just stick to the kicking-back basics. Take the perennial “Stormy Monday Blues,” one of only two non-originals among Getaway‘s 13 tracks (the other is Adele’s “Turning Tables”). Here Hilton finds new ways around an old warhorse, toying with tempo and reshaping the melody by recycling a minimalist, reiterative line till the tune barely resembles itself. Other times she may head fleetingly for a bare blues or a boogie-woogie so prankish you wonder if Jerry Lee Lewis has just kicked her off the piano stool. She takes to heart the title of the second track-“Just for Fun.”

But then there are other instances when Hilton’s practically solemn; it’s a whole other side of her artistry and an equally convincing one. With Nasheet Waits’ drumming and Larry Grenadier’s bass veering from subdued to impactful but never to overbearing, she becomes ruminative-on tracks such as “Unforgotten” and the terrific “Stepping Into Paradise”-and prudent. Technically Hilton may not be the most accomplished player on the scene, and she gives the distinct impression that she doesn’t care to be. It’s what she does with what she’s got that makes Getaway such a surprisingly edifying listening experience.

Originally Published