Latinjazz Pianist Hilton Ruiz Passes


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Pianist Hilton Ruiz Passes this Morning
Latin music and Jazz artists get together for Hilton

New York, NYJune 6, 2006Famed Puerto Rican/New York Composer, Pianist and Jazz musician Hilton Ruiz passed away this morning at 3:51 a.m. at the East Jefferson General Hospital, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was still on life support when he peacefully expired. His daughter and wife, both named Aida, were by his side.

Hilton Ruiz had been in a coma at the New Orleans hospital Intensive Care Unit with severe trauma to the face and a fractured skull. The circumstances surrounding this tragic incident are under investigation by the New Orleans Police Department.

In the meanwhile, Ruiz family and friends will celebrate his life and music in a special, after-work benefit jam session will be held in Hilton Ruiz honor to assist the family with the medical and now funeral expenses. Confirmed guest performers include Zon del Barrio (7 pm) joined by saxophonist Ivan Renta & vocalist Frankie Vasquez; Chembo Corniel and Chaworo (9 pm) and Willie Martinez & La Familia Sextet (10 pm). Hilton Ruiz music and videos will be playing.

WHEN/WHERE: Tuesday June 6, 2006 @ 6 p.m. 12 midnight
Doors Open @ 5 p.m.
511 Lexington Avenue (between 48th & 47th Streets)
New York, NY

Suggested donation: $20

Other confirmed guest artists include the following:

Luisito Quintero * Andrea Brachfeld * Robert Glasper,* Annette Aguilar * Andy Gonzalez * Grady Tate * Papo Vasquez * Craig Harris * Grady Tate * Pete Nader * Sweet Sue Terry * Mark Whitfield * Avery Sharpe * Terry Burrus * Ben Lapidus * Bobby Sanabria * Dario Boente * Bill Sims, Jr. * Ray Mantilla * Chaney Sims * Norman Hedman * Gary Bartz * Poet Papoleto

Hilton Ruiz music and videos will be playing.

Musicians wishing to participate in A Benefit Jam Session for Hilton Ruiz should call Event organizer Eddie Rodriguez at 917-678-6695 or email Eddie at [email protected] to be placed on the Musicians Guest list.

“This is a very sad day for Latin and jazz music" said promoter Eddie Rodriguez. The question remains, how did something like this happen to an Internationally known jazz artist in the City where Jazz was born? We are urging all those who care to write letters to the Mayor of New Orleans:

Ray Nagin
Office of the Mayor
1300 Perdido St. #2E10
New Orleans, LA

504-658-4900 or 504-658-0900 or email Sally Forman at: [email protected]

This event will help pay for the medical expenses as well as funeral and burial costs involved with transporting Hilton to New York.

Hilton Ruiz will be viewed on Monday, June 13, 2006 at the Barrett Funeral Home located at 424 West 51st Street & Ninth Avenue. 212.265.0335

Born in New York City on May 29, 1952, Ruiz was a child prodigy, appearing on the Sandy Becker television show, performing at Carnegie Recital Hall at the age of eight, and playing in an accordion symphony at nine. Well-trained in all areas, he studied classical piano as well as Latin and received jazz guidance from the great Mary Lou Williams. “I was pretty lucky," he says, “in being exposed to a lot of different kinds of music, and studying them with good teachers."

By his early teens, Ruiz was working with a variety of Latin soul bands and, at age 14, recorded with a group called Ray Jay and the East Siders. But jazz was always close to his heart, and his obviously superlative improvisational skills quickly opened doors. Before he was twenty, Ruiz had worked with Frank Foster, Joe Newman, Cal Massey, Freddie Hubbard and Joe Hendersonan impressive list for an established player, a remarkable list for a relative newcomer. Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Freddie Hubbard, Tito Puente, Clark Terry, Ismael Rivera, Mongo Santamaria, George Coleman and so many others. He was a Student of the Great Jazz Master, Mary Lou Williams.

A short discography includes:

2005 - Tribute to Puente
2003 - Enchantment
1997 - Island Eyes
1994 - Hands on Percussion
1993 - Heroes
1993 - Excitation
1992 - Manhattan Mambo
1992 - Live at Birdland
1991 - A Moment's Notice
1989 - Doin' It Right
1988 - El Camino [The Road]
1988 - Strut
1986 - Something Grand
1984 - Cross Currents
1981 - Live at Jazz Unite
1977 - New York Hilton
1977 - Steppin' Into Beauty
1976 - Rhythm in the House
1975 - Piano Man

This event is sponsored by LQs and Latin Works Music.
All donations are to be made payable to Aida Ruiz (check preferred).
For further information call: Latin Works Music 917-678-6695

This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz.
Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

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