Long a beloved staple on the NYC jazz scene and world-renowned as a multi-faceted concert hall and symphony performer, Hilary Kole has emerged triumphantly from a difficult three-year legal struggle to put out a recording – and found her true musical heart in the process. On her new independent full-length album, the acclaimed vocalist and musician paints A Self-Portrait with illuminating stylistic brushstrokes and an expansive repertoire that takes her far beyond her storied roots as a purveyor of the Great American Songbook. Back, better than ever and baring her jazz and pop soul like never before, Hilary celebrates life free of limitations and full of optimism.
So personal and intimate that it could only be a self-produced project, A Self-Portrait – recorded and co-produced by famed engineer Jim Czak at legendary Nola Studios, where Hilary recorded her first demo at 14 – features the singer working with her longtime bandmates Paul Gill (bass), John Hart (guitar) and drummer Aaron Kimmel, along with pianists Tedd Firth, John DiMartino, and cellist Agnas Nagy. Together they uncover new emotional dimensions in tunes that she sees as personal snapshots of her life that also communicate deeper universal truths. Having always felt more connected to the sound of her live performances than to her previous studio recordings, Hilary took an organic approach to recording in line with the way she sings when an audience is present. Her interpretation extends to her own masterful arrangements of 11 of the songs. Credited also as arrangers are Firth (“Lemon Twist”), Rich DeRosa (“The Man I Love,” and co-arranged with Kole “Some Other Time”), and Misha Piatigorsky (“50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.”)
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“..Kole is about as polished as they come without losing a whit of warmth.
Her vocal range and control remain astonishing. If anything the lady’s
instrument- and make no mistake, she has an instrument, is riper and
more appealing.” Theater Pizzazz
“… her smooth melodic lines have never been so consistently infused with
literary subtext, which spells the difference between sounding pretty, and
having something to say.” - Stephen Holden —The New York Times
“A pure voice that flows as easily as burnished notes from a muted
trumpet …” - David Finkle —Huffington Post
“Understated elegance and playful warmth…” —USA Today