Cynthia Hilts: And a Few Montana Friends-Stars Down to the Ground
Cynthia Hilts came from New York for a year's stint as artist in residence at the Montana Artists Refuge. This features music she wrote while working and living in the Big Sky State. The music embraces a wide range of styles including jazz, funk, folk and new music used in varying harmonic settings feelings of sadness, joy, agony and humor. When in New York, Hilts formed the Lyric Fury Ensemble to play her original compositions, mostly avant-garde in structure.
Hilts plays piano on all and sings on most of the tracks. She pokes fun at modern music on "Faith and the Mash" where Faith is urged not to play the piano in "clumps" but "play us a sweet melody". The music matches the words as the piano alternates between discordant and sweet chords. The tune ends in a tumult of sound leaving one to conclude that Faith likes playing in clumps. There's more humor in "A Heifer on Capitalist Ave". a narration of a cow's reactions to its first visit to Big Apple's Fifth Ave. Ruminative feelings come into play on the title tune featuring the probing lyrical guitar of Ben White. Funk arrives with "Porch Tune" as White's guitar turns smeary and M. J. Williams contributes both Jack Teagarden like trombone and backup vocals. "Greengrass Forest" a serious conversation between Hilts' jagged pianism, Brad Edwards' lyrical drumming and M. J. Williams' modern sounding trombone counterbalanced by White's straight ahead guitar making this one of the session's more compelling cuts.
If Montana's clean, fresh air and wide open spaces inspires as it obviously did Hilt, more urban jazz musicians "Go West...". The lyrics are printed in the liner of this recommended album.
Track Listing: A Rock's Line; A Heifer on Capitalist Ave.; Love Song for a Mountain; Faith and the Mash; Elk Bones; Stars Down to the Ground; Greengrass Forest; Hounding; Joe, I'm Leaving; Porch Tune
Personnel: Cynthia Hilts - Piano/Vocals; M. J. Williams - Trombone/Vocals; Ben White - Guitar; Mike Carey - Bass; Brad Edwards - Drums
Record Label: Montana Artists Refuge