Pianist/composer Hilton Ruiz, one of the leading figures in Afro-Cuban music as well as an expert bebop player, has remained true to his Latin roots while creating music full of the rhythmic and harmonic spontaneity that characterizes the finest jazz.
Born in New York City in 1952, Hilton was a child prodigy who performed at Carnegie Recital Hall when he was eight. He played with Latin bands as a teenager and gained early mainstream jazz experience playing with Joe Newman, Frank Foster, Cal Massey and Freddie Hubbard before he turned 20.
Hilton later studied with Mary Lou Williams and was a member of Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s band from 1973-1977. He then spent two years with George Coleman’s band and recorded with Charles Mingus, Betty Carter, Archie Shepp, Clark Terry and Chico Freeman, among others before embarking on a solo career in the early ’80s. Manhattan Mambo, his first recording on Telarc, was released July 1992 and earned rave reviews.
Enchantment, his most recent recording also for Telarc, was hailed as “one of the finest jazz outings of 2003.”