HILARIO DURAN TORRES (pianist, bandleader, composer, producer, arranger) was born October 10, 1953 in Havana, Cuba, where he later studied music education at the Conservatory Amadeo Roldan there. He joined the Cuban Orchestra of Modern Music in 1976, but when Arturo Sandoval formed his band in 1981, Hilario joined him and continued to work with him for the next decade as composer, arranger, and producer as well as playing both piano and keyboard. It was a collaboration that saw him often sharing international stages with outstanding musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie and Michel Legrand.
Known as one of the great Çuban pianists, Duran has been nicknamed “Con Tumbao” for his creative use of the tumbao repetitive bass figures. He toured throughout Latin America and Europe with his own group, Perspectiva, for several years, a period during which he also played piano on Jane Bunnett’s Juno Award-winning Spirits of Havana CD. In 1995, he decided to pursue a solo career, releasing the first of many successful recordings the following year.
He moved to Canada in 1998, where he has remained a key member of Jane Bunnett’s Spirits of Havana Afro-Cuban jazz band for many years, while also continuing to perform on concert stages and in festivals all around the world as leader of his namesake Hilario Duran’s Latin Jazz Big Band. The group was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2007 for “From the Heart”, featuring Paquito D’Rivera. Hilario is the recipient of 3 Juno Awards and over a dozen National Jazz Awards as well as the prestigious Chico O’Farrill Lifetime Achievement Award