Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
In 1968, he started his musical education at the Conservatory Amadeo Rold'n in La Habana. In 1976, Duran joined the Cuban Orchestra of Modern Music in substitution for pianist Chucho Valdes.When Arturo Sandoval formed his band in 1981, Hilario Duran joined him and worked with him for 10 years, as composer, arranger and producer as well as playing both piano and keyboard and touring at major jazz festivals around the world, sharing stages with such outstanding musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, Michael Legrand and others.
In 1990, Duran formed his own group, Perspectiva, which toured successfully throughout Latin America and Europe, and released several musically innovative and critically acclaimed albums, most notably "Tiembla Tierra" and "Buscando Cuerdas." In 1991, Hilario Duran participated as a pianist in Jane Bunnett's Juno Award winner CD "Spirits of Havana". In 1995, following a successful European tour with his group Perspectiva, which included a stint at Ronnie Scott's (April 1995), Duran decided the time was now right for him to pursue his solo career, allowing him more scope to follow the many different areas of his musical interests.
Duran's first internationally released solo album, "Francisco's Song ", was issued in April 1996, produced by Justin Time Records (Montreal, Canada).
1997 saw Duran consolidate his previous year's successes with the release of his second album on Justin Time "Killer Tumbao " (in February). Featuring a host of Cuban musical giants, including the legendary percussionists Changuito and Tata GYines, "Killer Tumbao " received rave reviews across the board and a lot of airplay on specialist stations in both Canada and the USA.
In 1998 Hilario decided to move to Canada with his family and released the "Habana Nocturna" album, "a round-trip ticket from Cuban music to jazz and back; a landmark album of Cuban jazz in the nineties" according to Nat Chediak (author of "Diccionario de Jazz Latino").
Duran made his establishment as a musician in Canada in 1998, working in different areas, as a piano teacher in the music program of Humber College (Toronto) and Carleton University (Ottawa) as well as ensemble teacher in the same program at Humber College.
Duran has been for many years a prominent member of the Canadian saxophonist and flutist Jane Bunnett's "Spirits of Havana" Afro-Cuban jazz band, with whom he has recorded several albums. He has worked also as composer, arranger and pianist on the sound track for the animated cartoon "George and Martha" (Nelvana Production) and the recent film "Tropic of Cancer" of the director Ramiro Puerta.
In 2000, Duran participated in The Modern Drummer Festival along with Horacio "El Negro" Hern'ndez, Marc Qui-onez, John Patitucci and Michael Brecker. This performance was recorded on video, produced by Hudson Music in association with Manhattan Center Studios.
During 2000 and 2001, Hilario performed in the Barranquilla Jazz Festival in Colombia. In 2000 he was part of an All Star band that included Dave Valent'n, Juan Pablo Torres, John Ben'tez, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, Julio Padr-n, "Patato" Valdes. In 2001, he conformed a quartet with "El Negro" Hernandez (drums), Carlos del Puerto Jr. (bass) and Roberto Vizca'no (percussion).
Hilario's latest 2002 release paying homage to Traditional Cuban Music, "Havana Remembered," was nominated for a Canadian Juno Award. In July 2002, Hilario participated along with pianist Marilyn Lerner, in an explosive and original piano duet, being one of the highlights of the Ottawa Jazz Festival, and critically acclaimed by the press. Duran also performed in October 2002 (as a pianist and composer) with saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera, violinist Regina Carter and the living legend, Brazilian singer Leny Andrade, joined by the World Festival Orchestra, New Jersey Performing Arts Center (N.J.P.A.C.).