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My Favorite Things by Lisa Hilton

Southern California pianist, Lisa Hilton, is justifiably proud of her new CD My Favorite Things: Everyone’s Jazz Favorites. The pianist involved herself in all aspects of its creation.

Hilton’s seventh album in nine years is not only self-produced but the pianist composed eight original pieces and penned the arrangements of the remaining jazz standards. Her tasty reading of George and Ira Gershwin’s "They Can’t Take That Away From Me" is reminiscent of jazz pianists of the late 1930s and particularly of Teddy Wilson. Hilton handles the 1937 classic in a solo performance.

The award-winning pianist is joined by some fine studio musicians on My Favorite Things. Reedman, Eric Marienthal, handles the flute and saxophone duties sympathetically. Marienthal is fresh from appearances with The Rippingtons and Chick Corea. Drummer, Tal Bergman, worked in all genres including sessions with Billy Idol, Chris Botti and Joe Zawinul. Bassist, Reggie McBride, is probably one of the finest electric players on the scene. Over the years, the Detroit born bassist, provided the heartbeat for many greats including Aretha Franklin, Elton John, James Brown, Al Jarreau, Ry Cooder and Van Morrison. Many will recall his exciting recordings with Rare Earth in the 70s.

Lisa Hilton dishes out some classy interpretations of several standards and Paul Desmond’s "Take Five" really stands out. This writer was most impressed with Hilton’s original tunes. "Baja Nights" is an exciting percussive melody with nice passages by the pianist accented by Bergman’s tasteful drumming. Our particular favorites are the bluesy "Seduction" and the closing tune titled "Changes." The latter song is a charmer in every sense of the word. The somewhat simple melody just demands a replay.

Sound samples are available at Smooth jazz fans should give it a listen.

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