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Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall again January 13, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Football, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, Weather.
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Previous Lisa Hilton recaps: June 2011, January 2014
Later recap: January 2016

I was back at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall on Sunday to see jazz pianist Lisa Hilton in concert. As you can tell by the previous recaps above, this was the third time I saw her live.

Four weeks ago yesterday, a postcard from Lisa arrived in the mail. Four upcoming shows were on that postcard and the Carnegie show was at the top. I immediately went to the Carnegie Hall website to purchase a ticket. I ended up buying one in front row center. As it turns out, there was only one other person in the front row at the show.

I got a ride to the Wantagh LIRR station at around noon. After getting a round trip off peak ticket to Penn Station, I waited on the platform for the 12:19 westbound train. I sat in the westernmost railcar and had a quiet ride. Once at Penn Station, I took the E train to 7th Avenue and West 53rd Street, walking to Carnegie from there.

I arrived at about 1:30.
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Last year’s show was on a Thursday at 8PM. This year’s show was at 2PM on Sunday. The trip to Penn and the show itself allowed me to sequester myself from knowing what was going on in the Packers-Cowboys NFC Divisional Playoff Game. I’m not a fan of the Cowboys and was aggravated that they came back to win their Wild Card game against the Lions. Luckily, I learned back at Penn around 4:00 that the Packers won.

Weill Recital Hall is small and intimate, so much so that a sound system wasn’t even in place. The hall’s acoustics were the sound system.

It turns out you can take pictures before a performance, so I did just that:
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I would have taken more, but my camera’s shutter was really loud in the hall.

1/17 UPDATE: Kudos to professional photographer Enid Farber on her wonderful shots during the show.

2/5 UPDATE: Enid has allowed me to post two of her pictures:
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Thank you very much.

At 2:00 on the dot, the show began. Lisa Hilton played piano, Ben Street was on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums. They were joined two songs in by J.D. Allen on tenor saxophone and Ingrid Jensen on trumpet. I had seen Lisa, Ben, and J.D. before, but not Rudy and Ingrid. They were a superb quintet.

Lisa has a new album coming out on March 7 called Horizons. This was the first time tunes from the album were played live. Here’s what the set looked like (quintet except where noted):
1. Vapors and Shadows (Lisa, Ben, Rudy)
2. Sunset and the Mocking Bird (Lisa, Ben, Rudy)
3. Nocturnal
4. The Sky and the Ocean
5. Lazy Moon
6. Moon River
7. When It Rains (Lisa, Ben, Rudy)
8. Currents (Lisa, Ben, Rudy)
9. Seduction^ (Lisa only)
10. Dolphins
11. Surfer Blues
12. So This is Love^
13. Slow Down^
14. Waterfall^ (encore) (Lisa only)

^”Seduction” is originally from Seduction (1997), and redone on Cocktails at Eight (2000), My Favorite Things (2005) and The New York Sessions (2007). “So This is Love” is originally from My Favorite Things and played again on Sunny Day Theory (2008) and Nuance (2010). “When It Rains” originated on American Impressions (2012). “Slow Down” is from Getaway (2013). “Waterfall” is also from Seduction and Cocktails at Eight.

Lisa previously covered “Moon River” on Cocktails at Eight, Midnight in Manhattan (2006), and Twilight & Blues (2009).

The set lasted about an hour and a half. Each song was an instrumental landscape and each musician had a brush. Of the material from Horizons, my favorites were:
“Vapors and Shadows” – I was enamored by the fast tempo and staccato notes. They were like Morse code.
“Nocturnal” – This had a danceable melody and rhythm.
“Dolphins” – This was a relaxing composition, evoking images of dolphins frolicking offshore.
Of the material not on the album, I’ve always liked “Seduction” and “So This is Love,” so it was great to hear them. I had a “so, this is love” epiphany myself a few years ago.

I caught up with Lisa afterward in the lobby and she insisted we take a picture. I was more than happy to oblige:
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I also bought a CD copy of Horizons in the lobby. I told Lisa I was hoping to hear her cover of “Gold on the Ceiling” during the show. Of course, I didn’t know it was a cover because I know very little about modern pop music. When I heard the 30-second preview of the song on Amazon prior to Sunday, I liked its energy, as I did with “Vapors and Shadows.” It reminded me of Horace Silver. And the title had me thinking of old prospectors chopping gold off a ceiling with their pickaxes. While sharing that visualization with Lisa, she told me the song was originally by the Black Keys. A check of the liner notes when I got home later confirmed that. So, this goes on record as another instrumental cover of a pop song that I prefer over the original. In this case, I don’t plan on listening to the original “Gold on the Ceiling” anytime soon. As for my visualization, Lisa interpreted the song title as gold representing a sunset and the ceiling representing the sky. I told her I liked that – a sunset in the sky.

Going back to Penn Station, I had planned on taking the Q train back to Herald Square and walking to Penn from there. Instead, I walked down 7th Avenue, through Times Square, and took the 1 train from 42nd Street Station to Penn. While in Times Square, I took this picture:
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Like last year, the ball is frozen in time after dropping on New Year’s Eve.

Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall is becoming an annual tradition for me. I’m already looking forward to next time. Thank you, Lisa, Ben, Rudy, J.D., and Ingrid.

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