Laced with a pulsating West Coast cool energy, the award-winning composer and acclaimed pianist Lisa K. Hiltons’, recordings are imbued with historical references from a variety of genres and eras, sounding distinctly twenty-first century. Her compositional inspirations do spring from jazz legends Thelonious Monk, Count Basie, Horace Silver and Duke Ellington, but they also include her favorite bluesmen, Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, as well as rhythmic swatches from modernists such as Prokofiev and Bartók.

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 Dutch young piano virtuoso. Hilton composed her own simple tunes starting about six years of age, accompanied at the piano for her grammar school glee club starting in third grade, later joining the band on flute in fourth grade, and performed piano scores for high school musicals as a teen.

In college though, due to the lack of creativity in the music program, she switched majors and received a degree in art instead. Hilton has noted that her background in the arts continually informs her composition process. In the book, The New Face of Jazz, by Cicily Janus (with an introduction by jazz legend, Wynton Marsalis and an afterword by jazz icon, Sonny Rollins), Janus notes that Hilton has been “compared to some of the best pianists in history.”  Other comparisons are often made to the jazz pianists Bill Evans and Dave Brubeck, but Hilton’s compositions are also considered to be reminiscent of musical impressionists such as Claude Debussy and Erik Satie.  

Hilton has performed at venues across the US from the legendary Carnegie Hall to Chicago’s historic Green Mill, from UCLA to Cornell University, and is known her expressive technique at the piano, as well as for her warmth and storytelling on stage. Over her career, Hilton has worked with many of todays’ living jazz legends such as JD Allen, Rudy Royston, Luques Curtis, Larry Grenadier, Terell Stafford, Christian McBride, Sean Jones, Billy Hart, Marcus Gilmore, Nasheet Waits and others. With her high-profile band mates and top engineers, Hilton has continued to compose, perform and produce an album a year in a trio, quartet, quintet or solo piano setting, and is a familiar name at the top of charts like Jazz Week, ZMR, and #1 Amazon New Releases  through her record label, Ruby Slippers Productions. These albums also regularly appear on some “Best Of” lists” at All About Jazz or other sites, and popular music collections like Apple’s Pure Jazz Playlist. 

Hilton now lives in Malibu, California – home at one time to jazz musicians Miles Davis, Joe Zawinul, Stan Getz and Horace Silver among others – finding inspiration in the essence of the sun-dappled hills or fog-dense mornings along the beach. The daughter of a professor of biology, nature holds a special place in Hilton’s life, and she brings the wider world outside into her compositions with titles such as Vapors & ShadowsMojave Moon, and Sunset on the Beach.

Committed to helping students who are often overlooked, Hilton regularly spends time to help students who are blind or visually impaired 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 myself to those with physical disabilities – music should be for everyone,” Hilton explains. 

Hilton also regularly voices equity awareness: “Women have historically been creative leaders as composers, musicians, bandleaders and instrumentalists, and culturally we are indebted to their artistic legacies. Their stories should be told and their music heard in theaters presenting opera, classical music and jazz around the world.”


“Attention grabbing!”
KVNF Radio

“Impressions of color and depth.”

“A smoking trio date but what it really is a tour de force for her is piano chops to really walk the walk… The kind of classic sound/feeling date that first got you into jazz piano trio sets, this might appear simple but that doesn’t stop it from being as tasty as it gets. Hot stuff.”
The MidwestRecord

“Hilton has a clear vision of how she wants to sound as she beautifully plays the Steinway…her piano sound is lush, delicate and highly melodic…. A rich balance of emotions and harmonic colors as well.”
Glide Magazine/Jim Hynes

“Hilton’s elegant piano and the profound dynamism-filled rhythm create beautiful melodic piano trio works”.
Vento Azul /Japan

“No one plays, writes or puts together a band better than this great, talented lady! NOCTURNAL is another in a growing list of deep excellent works from Hilton.”
Russ Davis/Voice of America 

“NOCTURNAL is simply phenomenal.   The composing and playing on this album is a tour de force. A quantum lead forward outward and upward for Hilton as a composer and she and her band have executed it flawlessly – truly an amazing group producing truly amazing music.. This is the best album I’ve heard in a decade, maybe in two decades. Deserving of record of the year on anyone’s list.”
KVNF Radio

“A collection of hard-hitting originals… her strongest outing yet.”
George Harris/JazzWeekly

“Mastery of the keyboard…her music offers a unique blend of concepts and of past and future that’s quite beautiful…” – Burning Ambulance

“Lisa Hilton has done a remarkable job.”
The New York Jazz City Record

‘Lisa Hilton is one of the finest musical impressionists…’
Ken Franckling/Jazz Notes

…”speaks subtly of Satie and sublimely of Ellington… and a whirl of Brubeckian piano….”


Life is Beautiful (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2022)
Transparent Sky (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2021)
More Than Another Day (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2020)
Chalkboard Destiny (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2019)
Oasis (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2018)
Escapism (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2017)
Day & Night (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2016)
Nocturnal (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2016)
Kaleidoscope (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2014)
Horizons (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2015)
Getaway (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2013)
American Impressions (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2012)
Underground (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2011)
Nuance (Ruby Slippers, Productions, 2010)
Twilight & Blues (Ruby Slippers, Productions, 2009)
Sunny Day Theory (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2008)
So This Is Love (EvoSound,  2008)
The New York Sessions (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2007)
After Dark (EvoSound, 2007)
Midnight in Manhattan (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2006)
My Favorite Things (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2005)
Jazz After Hours (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2004)
In the Mood for Jazz (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2003)
Feeling Good (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2001)
Cocktails at Eight… (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2000)
Playing by Heart (Ruby Slippers Productions, 1999)
Seduction (Ruby Slippers Productions, 1997)


Photo by Aaron Regan.
Photo by Aaron Regan.
Photo by Aaron Regan.
Photo by Aaron Regan.
lisa hilton wearing a hat sitting in front of a piano
Photo by Aaron Regan.
lisa hilton holding sheet music in front of a piano
Photo by Aaron Regan.
lisa hilton stands in front of a black and red velvet curtain with luques curtis and rudy royston
Photo by Aaron Regan.
lisa hilton wearing a black dress and camel hat
Photo by Aaron Regan.



After graduating from the Greater Hartford Academy of Performing Arts, Curtis won a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music. After moving to NYC, he has performed with Orrin Evans, Eddie Palmieri, Gary Burton, Christian Scott and others.  He is a recent recipient of the DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll Rising Star Bassist.  He has performed on several Grammy nominated releases and has also released recordings with his brother Zacchai Curtis, who is a pianist.


A native of Ft. Worth, Texas, drummer Rudy Royston was raised in Denver, Colorado and began playing drums and percussion as a toddler. Rudy graduated with honors from University of Denver, where he received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Poetry. Upon graduating college, Rudy went on to play and record in the gospel, alternative rock and jazz scenes in Denver and around the United States. He taught music 10 years in public schools before relocating to the east coast in 2006 to pursue graduate studies in music at Rutgers University. Rudy quickly integrated into the New York music scene, performing with world-renowned artists such as Javon Jackson, Bill Frisell, Les McCann, David Gilmore, Ben Allison, Jason Moran, JD Allen, Sean Jones, Jeremy Pelt, Greg Osby, Jennifer Holiday, Tia Fuller, Ravi Coltrane, Ralph Bowen, Bruce Barth, George Colligan, Don Byron, Stanley Cowell, Tom Harrell, John Ellis, Jenny Scheinman and The Mingus Big Band, to name a few.


Mark Whitfield Jr. comes from a musical dynasty, beginning on drums before his earliest memories. He made his first concert appearance at age two as a guest drummer with his father, guitarist Mark Whitfield, and clarinet legend Alvin Batiste. At four, he appeared with his father’s quartet on the Good Morning America 1994, and he would continue to perform with his father throughout his early years. Whitfield, was on full scholarship at Berklee College, graduating in 2011 and has performed at the Newport, Duke Ellington, and Monterey Jazz Festivals.


Four time Grammy Award winner Antonio Sanchez is considered by many critics and musicians alike as one of the most prominent drummers, bandleaders and composers of his generation. Born in Mexico City on November 1st, 1971, he started playing drums at the age of 5 and began performing professionally early in his teens. Antonio pursued a degree in classical piano at the National Conservatory in Mexico and in 1993 he moved to Boston to enroll at Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in Jazz Studies. Since his move to New York City in 1999 Antonio has become one of the most sought after drummers in the international jazz scene. His playing is featured in over a hundred albums and has performed and recorded with some of the biggest names in jazz including Chick Corea, Michael Brecker, Charlie Haden, Gary Burton and has been the drummer of choice for 20 time Grammy winner Pat Metheny. He wrote the acclaimed score for the 2014 movie, “Birdman” featuring Michael Keaton, Emma Thompson and Naomi Watts.


Bassist Gregg August spans the jazz, Latin jazz, classical and avant-garde scenes. A sought-after composer and arranger, celebrated for his versatility, breadth and intelligence, Gregg has been an active member of the New York music scene for over ten years. He attended SUNY and The Eastman School of Music and received a Masters degree from The Julliard School. August has played with Ray Barretto, Ornette Coleman, Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo O’Farrill, JD Allen, Chick Corea, James Moody, The Chico O’Farrill Big Band, The Lincoln Center’s Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and the Brooklyn Philharmonic among others.


This acclaimed trumpet player is based in New York, and has been hailed as “one of the great players of our time, a fabulous trumpet player” by piano legend McCoy Tyner. Stafford is recognized as an incredibly gifted and versatile player, he combines a deep love of melody with his own brand of spirited and adventurous lyricism. Stafford is the Director of Jazz Studies and Chair of Instrumental Studies at Temple University, founder and band leader of the Terell Stafford Quintet, and Managing and Artistic Director of the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia (JOP). He was born in Miami and raised in Chicago, Illinois and Silver Spring, Maryland. He received a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Maryland in 1988 and a Masters of Music from Rutgers University.


A Detroit native, J.D. Allen has spent most of his career in New York City, where he has played with Lester Bowie, George Cables, Betty Carter, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Frank Foster Big Band, Butch Morris, Wallace Roney, Cindy Blackman, Orrin Evans, Gerald Cleaver, and Me’shell Ndegeocello, among others. Allen’s debut album, In Search Of J.D. Allen, was awarded the Best New Artist award in Italy in 1999, and he has received numerous honors and award for what the New York Times describes as his “elegant and hard driving style.”


For the composer/trumpeter/educator/activist Sean Jones, the pursuit of jazz is a most serious endeavor. Deeply influenced by his immersion in Gospel music in the church as a youth, Sean had an epiphany at the age of 19 while he was a student at Youngstown State University. Five years later, after receiving his Master’s Degree from Rutgers University Sean had a 6-month stint with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. He has worked with Joe Lovano, Chico O’Farrill, Illinois Jacquet, Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster, Nancy Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Gerald Wilson, Marcus Miller, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter among others. He began teaching at Duquesne University in his adopted hometown of Pittsburgh, where he is currently Associate Professor of Jazz. In 2012 he also became Professor of Trumpet at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Sean also serves as Artistic Director of both the Pittsburgh and Cleveland Jazz Orchestras. Jones is currently the trumpet Chair at Berklee College.


“The grandson of Roy Haynes, jazz’s most important living drummer, but he has proved his own virtues quickly. He created that pleasant citywide buzz when someone new and special blows through New York clubs and jam sessions. Now you can hear him regularly, playing with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Nicholas Payton, Vijay Iyer, Ambrose Akinmusire, Yosvany Terry, Gretchen Parlato and others.”

Ben Ratliff / NYTimes


Bassist Larry Grenadier, a DownBeat Critics’s choice winner, tours extensively with Brad Mehldau, but also has recorded with Chris Potter, Joshua Redman, Pat Metheny, and Chick Corea and others, as well as his band Fly with Glen Ballard and Mark Turner.


An exceptionally creative drummer and DownBeat Award winner, Greenwich Village based Waits is the son of drummer Freddie Waits and is known for his work with jazz artists Jason Moran, Kurt Rosenwinkel, John Escreet, Fred Hersch and the late Andrew Hill.


Berklee grad and DownBeat Critic’s Choice Winner, Jeremy Pelt has appeared the last five years as a DownBeat Rising Star trumpeter, and received the attention of Nat Hentoff in an extensive Wall Street Journal article. Pelt is a leader of his own band, but also has performed with others such as Nancy Wilson, Cedar Walton, and Ravi Coltrane.


Lewis Nash is consistently on Downbeat Magazine’s critic’s choice awards and has performed with Stan Getz, Art Farmer, Clark Terry and Milt Jackson. His impressive discography (over 300 recordings) includes projects with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Benny Carter, Hank Jones, and John Lewis, as well as new jazz stars Diana Krall, Joe Lovano and Roy Hargrove. Demonstrating his stylistic diversity, Nash is also featured on recordings by Natalie Cole, Bette Midler, Nancy Wilson, Kenny Rankin, Melissa Manchester and George Michael. His lectures, clinics and workshops are as much in demand as his bandstand and studio work.


Saxophonist Brice Winston has been spending the last several years touring with trumpeter Terence Blanchard’s band, honing his skills with some of the most cutting edge young musicians on the jazz scene today, from drummer Eric Harland, guitarist Lionel Loueke and the Nicholas Payton Quintet. His time with Terence has brought playing experiences with some of the jazz greats like Herbie Hancock, Slide Hampton, John Faddis, Marcus Miller, and Cassandra Wilson, among others, and he has performed on a dozen movie scores. Brice attended the University of New Orleans under the direction of Ellis Marsalis. Brice is currently back in his hometown of Tucson, AZ, teaching a community jazz program called Jazzwerx, while continuing to tour with Terence Blanchard. 


Grammy Award and DownBeat Poll winner Christian McBride, virtuoso of the acoustic and electric bass graduated from Julliard. Beginning in 1989, the Philadelphian has thus far been first-call-requested to accompany literally hundreds of fine artists, ranging in an impressive array from McCoy Tyner and Sting to Kathleen Battle and Diana Krall. He currently leads one of the hottest bands in music – the propulsive Christian McBride Band (saxophonist Ron Blake, keyboardist Geoffrey Keezer and drummer Terreon Gully).


A musician’s musician, Wilson had been documented on over 100 recording with the likes of Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Dianne Reeves, and Billy Childs. Wilson has six recordings under his own name.


Bobby is well known to jazz fans for his many years of working with the master himself, Dave Brubeck. With over one hundred recordings he has played on to his name, the New Yorker also spent two years on the Tonight Show with Doc Severinson.


Reggie McBride was going to go to Berklee School of Music on scholarship before he was recuited to do a Stevie Wonder recording. He is originally from Detroit. His background is more blues-oriented, and he has worked on major recordings for B.B. King, Elton John, Al Jarreau, Rod Stewart, and current Billboard chart topper, Keb Mo. He plays acoustic and electric bass, and lives in North San Diego County.


Tal Bergman was born in Israel, studied classical drumming, and moved to New York at age 20. Tal has worked in every genre of music as well as written scores for several mainstream movies. He has toured and played with musicians in many genres… rock: The Offspring, Billy Idol; jazz: Chris Botti and icon Joe Zawinul; pop: Rod Steward; urban: L.L. Cool J; and classical crossover: Loreena McKennitt.