" ... she found her mojo in a devastating performance of the Burt Bacharach-Elvis Costello ballad God Give Me Strength, " introduced in the 1996 movie Grace of My Heart. " It is a song that can only register if invested with an operatic intensity, and Ms. Kole rose to the occasion with an anguished performance whose mixture of rage and grief nearly matched the definitive recording by Audra McDonald. It was the first time I`ve heard Ms. Kole completely let go.
She brought the same fervor to Stevie Nicks`s Landslide " in a full-voiced rendition that captured every nuance of this reflection on emotional destruction and recovery. Ms. Kole explained that until now, she had stayed away from the singer-songwriter canon of the 1970s and beyond.
But she demonstrated " not only here but also in two original numbers, A Sliver of You " and Where Are the Angels, " on which she accompanied herself on piano " that this is exactly where she should have been all along." - Stephen Holden, New York Times
"Kole`s singing reaches beyond the usual vocal interpretations of standards. In her gifted hands, they`re transformed into compelling new musical short stories...Add to that the musicality she brought to everything she touched..."- Don Heckman, LA Times
Ms. Kole`s current release "You Are There," (Justin Time/JVC Japan) is a compilation of piano and vocal duets with some of the greatest artists in the history of jazz piano including Dave Brubeck, the late Hank Jones and many more. It is a follow-up to her debut recording produced by John Pizzarelli, "Haunted Heart" (Justin Time) which was released to critical acclaim in April of 2009, winning the Gold Disc Award in Japan, and receiving 4 stars in Downbeat Magazine. Both recordings are testaments to Hilary`s musicianship and versatility as an artist in a career that started in a slightly different vein:
After studying composition at Manhattan School of Music, Hilary began performing as a vocalist at the legendary Rainbow Room as the youngest singer ever to grace the stage. From there, she debuted at the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel as the co-writer and star of the critically acclaimed, Off-Broadway reviews, "Our Sinatra," and "Singing Astaire." She made her concert hall debut at Lincoln Center as part of the "American Songbook Series" with Jonathan Schwartz. In June 2007, she appeared at Carnegie Hall in a Tribute to Oscar Peterson, a performance reprised in January 2008 at the Canadian Memorial to Dr. Peterson at Roy Thompson Hall alongside Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock and Nancy Wilson.
Additional major concert appearances include headlining in New York City at Town Hall, Birdland, The Blue Note, Iridium, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Jazz Standard, and Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops and with Michael Feinstein. Throughout the world Hilary has headlined at the Umbria Jazz Festival, The Montreal Jazz Festival, the Nairn Jazz Festival in Scotland, and the Cotton Club and Blue Note in Japan. She also travels the country performing an orchestral show with pops orchestras.
In addition to Messrs Brubeck and Jones, Hilary has recorded and/or performed with Oscar Peterson, Michel Legrand, John Pizzarelli, David Frishberg, Monty Alexander, Benny Green, Freddy Cole, Alan Broadbent, Cedar Walton and Mike Renzi among others.
Ms. Kole returns to Manhattan`s 54 Below on February 28th, 9:30 p.m. following her August 2012 sold-out weeklong run at the venue.
Any opinions expressed on this website are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of The Student Operated Press