jump to navigation

Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall: The one I almost saw January 9, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, Weather.
trackback

Successful trips to Lisa Hilton performances: June 2011January 2014January 2015January 2016, January 2018, January 2019

This site has been quiet since my recap of Mike Stern and Jeff Lorber just before Christmas. I would have had a recap of Lisa Hilton‘s annual Weill Recital Hall show on January 9, but circumstances beyond my control before showtime prevented me from seeing it. It was very disappointing. The worst part is I began drafting the recap in advance. I’ve been sitting on the draft for weeks, opting not to delete it. Now, you get to see how the recap would have gone:

Thursday marked the sixth time in the last seven years that I saw Lisa Hilton and Friends perform at Carnegie Hall‘s Weill Recital Hall.

It was my second show in three weeks, having seen Mike Stern and Jeff Lorber at The Iridium on December 19. That was a mainly electric performance. Lisa and her friends performed acoustically in Weill Recital Hall’s natural sound system.

Lisa’s friends were JD Allen on tenor saxophone, Luques Curtis on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums.

Together, they mostly played music from Lisa’s latest album, Chalkboard Destiny. The album’s message is that we don’t have predetermined fates. We can make our own paths. That doesn’t keep me from regretting the paths I haven’t taken in my life, but I digress.

If I only knew the words I wrote would ring true that night.

It was cold on the platform at Wantagh’s LIRR station, but bearable with no wind. The 5:55 train was on time and my section of the railcar was quiet. I arrived at Penn Station at 6:56. I wasn’t going to attempt subway trains from Woodside this time. …

The show began at 8:??. As I said, Lisa, JD, Luques, and Rudy mostly played music from Chalkboard Destiny, except where noted:

(Describe songs)

After the show, I gathered my belongings and met Lisa in the lobby where we caught up with each other and posed for our usual pic:

“Our usual pic” would have gone here.

I took the C train back to Penn Station and the 10:?? Babylon train back to Wantagh.

That’s as far as the draft went. I would have added to it on Friday and published it Saturday, but my chalkboard destiny didn’t call for that.

The impetus for bringing this draft to light is a newsletter Lisa e-mailed on Monday night. The subject was “Behind the scenes at Carnegie Hall.” It led with this photo by professional photographer Ryan Nava:

Here’s what followed:

Are you curious what it’s like to perform at Carnegie Hall?

One thing for sure is that it was a LOT easier the sixth time than it was the first time, especially with an enthusiastic audience, so this year was my favorite year so far. The fact that I had friends JD, Luques, and Rudy all there this year just warmed my heart – we really have been playing together a while and it’s just getting better for us.

OK, back to the question, what is it like to play there? Every room has a unique energy, as well as advantages and disadvantages – but these days, I only perform in rooms that I like. Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall has perfect acoustics and an amazing 9′ Steinway D, so that’s way up there in the advantages category for a pianist, of course, since I only get to play a piano like that maybe 2-3 times a year at best. Just imagine my favorite thing to do – playing the piano – on one of the finest instruments in the entire country. It’s like a Ferrari to me – a high-performance vehicle – that’s what it’s like! You can see the piano practically overwhelms the stage – it’s huge – the big “engine” has longer strings with the ability for a greater range of sound, as well as dynamics. So, I get to enjoy the thrill of the sonic beauty, the easy “touch” which allows quickness and clarity, but I also try and “milk” the room and piano with contrast in volume – playing very, very softly as well as really pretty loud, all magnified naturally by the design of the room, so no microphones are needed. That’s definitely cool. I also like that it’s a “treat” for most of us to go to Carnegie Hall, so there are positive expectations with the audience. The room and stage are very pretty and live up to those expectations – lots of chandeliers all around – and I like being a part of a special experience. As an artist, I like playing up to those advantages – so yes, the room is inspiring.

OK, what’s it like to play Carnegie Hall?

It’s absolutely soooo much fun! We had an awesome time! I think we’ll be back January 10, 2021!

That would be a Saturday, a first for Lisa at Weill.

Below Lisa’s commentary was a collage of Ryan Nava’s photography with the Chalkboard Destiny artwork in the center:

I hope I’m able to redeem myself next year. Redemption is always sweet. Thank you to Lisa, not just for your explanatory newsletter, but for your understanding.

I’ll conclude this post with last year’s “usual pic”:

11/18 UPDATE: There will be no redemption in 2021. Due to the ongoing pandemic, Carnegie Hall canceled the show (per Lisa’s latest blog post).

Comments»

No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: