Dubbed by JazzReview a “Lioness of Jazz”, Lisa Hilton was born in San Luis Obispo, a small Southern California town, into a very musical family. Passionate about the piano from a young age, she was later inspired by stories of her great uncle, a young Dutch piano virtuoso, Willem Bloemendaal (1910-1937 Vlaardingen, Netherlands). A simple colored keyboard guide allowed Hilton to teach herself to play the piano around six, and composing tunes soon followed. She avidly began the formal study of classical and twentieth century piano literature at eight, accompanied the school chorus at piano when nine, led the flutes in the school band by ten, and later, accompanied high school theatre productions on the piano.
As a teen, playing Standards and blues replaced Bartok and Beethoven. In San Francisco at college, she studied with a renowned piano instructor, who was also known as a demanding perfectionist. Disillusioned with the classical canon and overly rigid teaching methods, Hilton suddenly opted out of the piano, switched her studies, and graduated with an art degree. In 1997 her love for music was reignited as she began composing. Since that time Hilton has produced an album a year of her own compositions and arrangements continually working with some of the greatest jazz musicians on the planet: Christian McBride, Lewis Nash, Larry Grenadier, Bobby Militello, Jeremy Pelt, J. D. Allen, Brice Winston, Nasheet Waits, Rudy Royston, Reggie McBride and Steve Wilson to name a few. Her music continues to receive high marks, longevity in radio airplay in the US, Canada and around the world, and is regularly featured on syndicated programs like NPR’s Morning Edition for what DownBeat Magazine calls, “A deeply expressive style - rich melodies and improvisations and an appealing impressionism.“
Hilton now lives in Malibu, California and her compositions draw inspiration from other West coast musical luminaries and one time Malibu residents such as Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Horace Silver and her friend, the late Joe Zawinul.