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Hilton Ruiz (5.29.52 – 6.6.06)

I first met Hilton before I was musical director for Tito Puente. We recorded some albums together. He played on my records and I played on his. He was one of the best not only jazz players, but Latin-jazz players I have ever known. He was magic. We used to play “We’ll Be Together Again” with just piano and flute. That’s one of the numbers I remember the most, especially now that he’s not with us.

Unfortunately something happened in New Orleans that we don’t know about. I met the mayor of New Orleans when I played a tribute for Rahsaan Roland Kirk. I talked to him about the situation and said that, on behalf of the musicians, we’d like to know what really happened to Hilton there.

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