Hilario Duran

Hilario Duran

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN

"Hilario Duran is an unparalleled pianist, as well as being a composer and arranger of the first order... one of the greatest Stone and Spin Cuban pianists of this Century.” Chucho Valdes


One of the premier exponents of Latin jazz, the Cuban-born, Toronto-based pianist extraordinaire Hilario Duran is a Composer, Arranger, Orchestra Leader and Educator.

Hilario Duran was born in Havana Cuba in 1953 and like many Cuban musicians, Hilario was born into a musical family surrounded by a variety of diverse musical influences on a daily basis.

One of Hilario's major creative partners has been dynamic Cuban trumpet player, Arturo Sandoval. In 1981, Sandoval formed his own group. Hilario was an integral part of this dynamic ensemble, acting as composer, arranger and producer, as well as playing both piano and electric keyboard. This popular and innovative group performed at major international jazz festivals and venues for more than a decade - sharing stages with legendary musicians such as the late Dizzy Gillespie and composer/arranger Michel Legrand.

In 1990, Hilario felt that it was time to form his own group, aptly titled "Perspectiva". The musically innovative ensemble performed to packed and enthusiastic crowds throughout Latin America and Europe. In addition, "Perspectiva" released two critically-acclaimed CDs, Tiembla Tierra and Buscando Cuerdas.

A year later, Hilario made another creative connection that has brought him to international attention. As a member of Canadian multi-saxophonist Jane Bunnett's "Spirits of Havana", he performed in concert, and on the recording of the same name … which subsequently won the Juno Award for Best Latin Jazz Recording.

Always looking to stretch his creative boundaries, Hilario Duran released his first solo piano CD, Francisco's Song in 1996 on the Montreal-based "Justin Time" record label. A follow-up project for "Justin Time", Killer Tumbao, was released in 1997, and featured an array of Cuban musical giants, including legendary percussionists Changuito and Tata Guines. The CD was a huge hit, garnering raves for critics and the public alike, as well as a saturation of airplay in both Canada and the U.S. 1998 was a year of transition and creativity for Hilario Duran. After re-locating to Canada with his family, he released Habana Nocturna, which noted author Nat Chediak referred to as "A landmark album of Cuban jazz in the 90's".

Since his move to Canada, Hilario Duran has become an integral and important part of the Canadian music scene, and is a invaluable member of the jazz faculty at Humber College, acting as both an adjunct piano professor and ensemble director.
He has continued to work in collaboration with Jane Bunnett, appearing on a number of her recordings, and has also acted as a composer, arranger and pianist for both feature films and animated cartoons.

In 2000 and 2001, Hilario appeared internationally with a variety of performance groups, including an appearance at "The Modern Drummer Festival" with Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, John Patitucci and Michael Brecker, also, a memorable performance at The Barranquilla Jazz Festival in Colombia, as well as engagements with an "All Star" band that included heavy-weight musicians Dave Valentin, Juan Pablo Torres, John Benitez, and "Patato" Valdes. In 2001, he formed a cooperative Quartet with his long-time musical brother, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez on drums, Carlos del Puerto, Jr. on bass and Roberto Vizcaino on percussion.

With the release of the cd From The Heart , Hilario has realized his long life dream. A showcase for the cuban born, Toronto-based musician's love for his native country's seminal Jazz Band Orchestras, this recording features Duran's rhythmically sophisticated compositions and sensual arrangements written for his exciting 20-piece Latin Jaz Big Band. It features Grammy Award winning jazz great Paquito D'Rivera and drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, along with a who's who of Canadian jazz greats.

Hilario is a multi Canadian multi Juno and National Jazz Award winner; American Grammy Award nominee and recipient of the 2007 Chico O’Farrill Lifetime Achievement Award.


Motion - 2009

"Motion" is the exciting new release by the Hilario Duran Trio, featuring Roberto Occhipinti on bass, and Mark Kelso on drums. This cd has been nominated for 2 Juno Awards.

From the Heart- Alma Records, 2006

This album is dedicated "to all the great Cuban conductors that I have had the opportunity to work with: Rafael Somavilla, Armando Romeu, Adolfo Guzman, Tony Taño, Rembert Egües, and Germán Pifferrer among others. Dedicated as well to Ernesto Lecuona, Lilí Martínez, Antonio María Romeu, Peruchín, Richard Egües, Chucho Valdés and all the other great composers, arrangers and musicians of the first order who inspired and pushed me to grow in my career. This recording is a tribute to you." Hilario Durán

Encuentro en La Habana - Alma Records, 2005

"This album was recorded in Cuba on the 25th and 26th of February 2005 at the EGREM Studios in Havana. To record again with the former members of one of Cuba’s most ambitious musical projects was long a dream. For years we all performed together as the band for Grammy Award-winning trumpet player Arturo Sandoval. When Arturo moved to the United States, we renamed the group Perspectiva, evolving a new musical perspective."

New Danzón - Alma Records, 2004

"The Hilario Durán Trio, comprised of Cuban-born Durán, renowned Canadian bassist, Roberto Occhipinti and Grammy award winner, Cuban-born percussionist Horacio ‘El Negro’ Hernandez, have taken the wonderful classic Cuban music called Danzon to new heights. The result is New Danzon, a fresh and vibrant Latin jazz offering, which melds the traditional with sophisticated be-bop and technical musical mastery."

Havana Remembered - Somerset Entertainment, 2001

Savor the joyful spirit of Old Havana with this collection of songs from the golden era of Cuban Music.

Habana Nocturna - Justin Time, 1999

"Habana Nocturna's roots in Cuban music are Guillermo Rubalcaba's Charanga Típica de Concierto and the trailblazing danzones composed by Cachao ad Macho López for Arcaño y sus Maravillas. In jazz, the Gonzalo Rubalcaba paid tribute to his father's music in 'Mi Gran Pasión' (1987). But Durán's Habana Nocturna is a round-trip ticket from Cuban music to jazz, and back; a landmark album of Cuban Jazz in the nineties."
Nat Chediak (author of "Diccionario de Jazz Latino"), April 1999

Killer Tumbao - Justin Time, 1997

"After making a name for himself as a primarily jazz oriented pianist... Hilario Durán returns to Castro country for this energetic get-down with an all stars cast of Cuban greats. 'Killer Tumbao' is a pounding collision of Latin roots and jazz elegance, as much heady folklore as swing."
Matt Galloway, Now magazine (Toronto), May 1997

Francisco's Song - Justin Time, 1996

"Durán, the latest keyboard sensation from Cuba to draw attention... is a fiery performer whose debut disc is just out - and hot. On 15 tunes, with Jane Bunnett, bass Alain Caron and guitarrist Sonny Greenwich, there's powerful, chord-packed interpretations as Cuban and North American traditions are pulled together, the title track quite brilliant and jazz faves Giant Steps, Lush Life and Hot House amazingly fresh."
Geoff Chapman, The Toronto Star, June 1996

Club Mambo (Solitude) 2000
Buscando Cuerdas (Egrem) 1994
Tiembla Tierra (Egrem) 1990
Los de Siempre (Egrem) 1978
La Gran Timba del Caribe (Egrem) 1978
Habana 9 pm (Egrem) 1976

With Jane Bunnett:
Spirits of Havana (CBC-Egrem-Messidor) 1992
Rendez-vouz Brazil-Cuba (Justin Time) 1995
Havana Flute Summit (Naxos) 1996
Chamalongo (EMI-Blue Note) 1997
Ritmo+Soul (EMI-Blue Note) 2000

Set List

Musical Formats:

Piano Solo
In the hands of master pianist Hilario Duran, Cuba's past, present and future flow together like a graceful glissando gliding up the keyboard. Hilario Duran piano solo performance is the result of years of musical growth presenting Cuban, classic, Jazz and Latin Jazz repertoire in an intimate atmosphere

Hilario & Jane Bunnett Duet
Pianist Hilario Duran has monster chops and the kind of fertile imagination that only Cuba's musical hot house can breed.
For those uninitiated into Jane Bunnett's oeuvre, this is no mere Buena Vista Social Club-style assimilation. Bunnett straddles the line between straight-up Cuban music and impressionistic jazz...
This duet feature Cuban classic repertoire with elements of Jazz Modern.
Piano: Hilario Duran; Tenor Sax & Flute: Jane Bunnett

Hilario Duran Trío
This trio is one of the most expressive musical formations - classic Cuban and Latin jazz repertoire, a style of Cuban Danzon with essential rhythms from Afro