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Lisa Hilton

Lisa Hilton: Composer/Pianist/Producer/Bandleader

“Lisa Hilton has been compared to some of the best pianists in history.” The New Face of Jazz

“There are a lot of great jazz pianists, but Lisa Hilton takes a back seat to none of them.” World News

“One of the finest composers working in jazz today.” Jazz Notes

“A true original at the top of her game.” All About Jazz

“Sheer beauty.” DownBeat

Considered one of the most distinctive composers and pianists in jazz today, Lisa Hilton’s

twenty-first century compositions draw on classical traditions, twentieth century modernists,

American jazz and blues, and the avant-garde. Hilton notes, “The role of composers is to create

work that represents the sound and energy of our current lives while still embracing our rich

musical inheritance.” Hilton’s blues inflected trans-genre or poly-genre style influences extend

beyond jazz legends Thelonious Monk, Count Basie, Horace Silver and Duke Ellington, to

include bluesman Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, minimalists like Steve Reich, current

rockers Black Keys or modernists Prokofiev and Bartok.

Originally from a small town on California’s central coast, Hilton studied classical and twentieth

century piano formally from the age of eight, where she was inspired by stories of her great

uncle, Willem Bloemendall, (1910-1937), a young Dutch piano virtuoso. (Hilton’s grandfather

migrated from Holland and taught at Yale & the University of Illinois). In college though, Hilton

became a music school drop out, switching majors and receiving a degree in art, which allowed

her a more expansive creative approach. “I approach music as art,” Hilton explains; “I build the

composition with musical elements then ‘paint’ texture and color through improvisation and

other concepts.”

As an independent artist working with top engineers, Hilton has produced a total of seventeen

albums with another out in early 2016, representing over 200 iTunes tracks through her

publishing company, as well as having two CDs in Asia and inclusion on several compilations

internationally. Hilton continues to work with this era’s jazz luminaries including Christian

McBride, Nasheet Waits, Sean Jones, Gregg August, Marcus Gilmore, Steve Wilson, Jeremy

Pelt, Lewis Nash, Billy Hart, Larry Grenadier, Rudy Royston, and Bobby Militello among others.

Her upcoming release, will feature Terell Stafford/trumpet, JD Allen/tenor sax, Gregg

August/bass and Antonio Sanchez/drums. Hilton’s music appears on international radio charts

year after year for over a decade and has been heard on hundreds of radio stations around the

world – including syndicated programs like NPR’s popular Morning Edition. In addition, Hilton

has been featured on CBS/Boston and WGN/Chicago, and has been included in the books: “The

New Face of Jazz” by Cicily Janus, (Random House (2010), and “Viaggi nell’armonia delle note,”

by Silvia Cinzia Turrin, (Atti Poetici 2013). Known for her warmth and leadership, as well

showcasing diversity on stage, Hilton has played venues coast-to-coast including Carnegie Hall,

Cornell University, CAP/UCLA, The Kodak Theatre, The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, The Smith

Center, The Schwartz Center, The Grammy Museum, Buddy Guy’s/Chicago, Yoshi’s/SF,

Regatta Bar/Boston, Green Mill/Chicago, Vibrato Jazz Club/Los Angeles, Zinc Bar/NYC,

Scullers/Boston, Jazz Alley/Seattle, Andy’s Jazz/Chicago, SFJazz, Catalina Jazz

Club/Hollywood, The Red Room/Boston, Twins Jazz/DC, The Waldorf Astoria/NYC, SDCC/San

Diego, Biscuits & Blues/SF, Jazz Week Summit/NY and others. Hilton is a BMI artist, a voting

member of National Music Publishers of America and NARAS/Producers & Engineers Wing, and

a member of the Berklee College of Music Presidents Advisory Council.

Committed to helping students who are often overlooked, for many years Hilton has regularly

spent time to help blind students at the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston, The Chicago

Lighthouse for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired, The Junior Blind of America in Los

Angeles, Camp Bloomfield for the Blind in California, or The Berklee College in Boston and their

adaptive music lab for visually impaired musicians. “I enjoy extending help to those with

physical disabilities – music should be for everyone,” Hilton explains.