“Until I Find the Words” (2018)

Each tune on this album has its own special feel, from ballad to bounce, tango to swing. They are just some of the many original compositions by saxophonist/clarinetist Steve Hiltner that he and pianist Phil Orr have been performing at concerts and events for years, recorded here in-studio. Steve takes his inspiration from the mainstream jazz of great saxophonists like Dexter Gordon, the gorgeous ballads of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and John Coltrane, the buoyant energy of a variety of Latin music, and the endless creativity of nature.

Based in Princeton, NJ, Steve combines his equal passions musician and naturalist through his Sustainable Jazz Ensemble and Climate Change Cabaret (author/performer/producer), and also separates them as co-leader of the Lunar Octet and as frequent essayist, blogger, and nature guide  Herrontown Woods, his favorite preserve. The album cover photo was taken by Steve, intrigued by bubbles trapped in ice as it thawed to the liquid mysteries of a vernal pool below. Phil is a composer and band leader in his own right, comfortable in a broad range of genres, whose sympathies and facility give the compositions on this album a rich, inventive setting.

[Steve Hiltner, Phil Orr, 2022]

Some notes on the music:

In the Company of Friends—What we feel for our audience

Crying It Out (At the Bawl)—Memories of midwestern dance halls from a distant era

Princetonian Thoroughfare—Street life, with a touch of Bud Powell’s Parisian Thoroughfare

Lejos de Aqui [Far From Here]—Long distance love–some know it well

Ruum To Rumba—Life is better if there’s ruum to rumba

Cheery in Theory—A musical account of a pretty flower that starts taking over the garden

Where Did You Go?—Anyone who has lost someone dear without warning will know this feeling.

Until I Find the Words—A tango. “Until I find the words, I’ll play this melody, this simple melody, to tell you of my love”

Funky River—This river gets funky in a good way

Fed Up—An unusual, driving groove that waited decades for its melody to come along

[Steve Hiltner, 2018]