Lisa Hilton

Lisa Hilton

Musicians | Instrument: Piano | Location: Los Angeles

A true original at the top of her game.

—All About Jazz

Updated: December 2, 2022

Born: January 5

Laced with a pulsating West Coast cool energy, the award-winning composer and acclaimed pianist Lisa K. Hiltons’, recordings are imbued with subtle historical references from a wide variety of genres and eras, sounding distinctly twenty-first century and uniquely of her own style. 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, touches of minimalism from the likes Steve Reich, rhythmic swatches from modernists such as Prokofiev and Bartok or chords from rockers like The Black Keys or Green Day – they all hold sway in Hilton’s imagination when she composes.

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 her great uncle, Willem Bloemendall, (1910-1937), a Dutch piano virtuoso. Hilton accompanied on the piano for her grammar school glee club starting in third grade, later joining orchestra and band on flute, and performed piano scores for high school musicals.

In college though, due to the lack of creativity in the music program, she dropped out, switching majors and receiving a degree in art instead. Since becoming a professional musician though, this background in the arts has informed Hilton’s composition process noting that she “paints” her compositions with harmonic washes and then “sculpts” them with textural and rhythmic ideas. 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”–comparisons are often made to the legendary 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 and is known her expressive technique at the piano as well as for her warmth and storytelling on stage. Over a career that has lasted several years, Hilton has worked with many of todays’ living jazz legends such as JD Allen, Rudy Royston, Larry Grenadier, Terell Stafford, Christian McBride, Sean Jones, Billy Hart, Marcus Gilmore, Nasheet Waits and others. Her latest recording, OASIS was recorded with Luques Curtis on bass and Mark Whitfield Jr. on drums. With her high-profile band mates, Hilton continues producing an album a year through her publishing company, Lisa Hilton Music. Her deep catalog of compositions is now nearing 300 recorded tracks – and her releases annually receiving strong support from radio and acclaim from critics around the world.

Read more


All About Jazz Articles

Album Review
Radio & Podcasts
Album Review
Radio & Podcasts
Album Review
Take Five With...
Read more articles

“Lisa Hilton’s most charming and beguiling CD to date.” —Linda Yohn/WEMU 2013 “Smoking, cooking stuff … one winning wild ride.” —Chris Spector/The Midwest Record 2013 “A wonderful melding of musical worlds.” —George Harris/JazzWeekly 2013 “One of the major voices in the modern jazz community, ” —The Jazz Messenger, 2012 “A true original at the top of her game.” —All About Jazz, 2012 "A Lioness of Jazz" —



DL Media



All About Jazz user Peter Down All About Jazz user MiG15 All About Jazz user Eugene Coderre All About Jazz user Justin Vargo All About Jazz user Tony McGee All About Jazz user Kitten Diotima All About Jazz user Etienne Shardlow All About Jazz user Edward Zucker All About Jazz user Edward deBouter All About Jazz user Peter Anthony Beckford All About Jazz user Lennarrrt Olausson All About Jazz user Leslie Smith All About Jazz user Daniel Lindahl All About Jazz user Michael Ricci All About Jazz user Lisa Hilton All About Jazz user Ronald Manley All About Jazz user S.P. Blanston All About Jazz user Marvin Lynch All About Jazz user Scott Grubb

Lisa Hilton Albums