Cynthia Hilt delves into the traditional side of jazz on her latest release Second Story Breeze. The soulful register of her vocals in the title track is reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald, and the reflexive action moving her fingers on the piano keys in "Nun, Miffdemeanor-Like" is on par with Duke Ellington. She tells in a recent press release that "The concept behind this CD is to create melodious space, depth and humor staring with the particular language of my voice and piano, coming out of straight-ahead jazz and long-term exploration." The album is all melodious and femininely trinket in its designs.
The dulcet curves of her vocals in "Love For Sale" have a heavenly resonance as her voice rises and descends with a natural flow, and her cover of "My Favorite Things" is spiced with twinkling piano keys and bebop sweeps that exude of sentimentality. The mellow intonation of "The Fading Blue" has an introspective glow, and the cool-jazz swagger of "Living It Up" has a Mae West-swishing. The speed of "Three Blind Mice" has a tempo that incites the toes to wiggle with fancy-free glee, while the low-lit kindle of "Venus" casts a sullen mood. The dance floor sweeps of "Bunny" run away into a world of fun-loving sprees, before Hilts concludes the album with the somber outlook in "Waiting."
Cynthia Hilts moves her voice and piano keys with the gracefulness of a preening swan. Born in Arizona and based in New York City for the last twenty years, Hilts has a natural bond with classic jazz compositions and is able to elegantly quilt melodies from a visceral sense of beauty. Studying jazz composition at the Berklee College of Music, Hilts shows a purity in her writing and delivery that connects her to jazz standards, and makes for a comfortable listening experience.