I'm very fortunate to have such great musicians to perform my original compositions with.Lunar Octet, now in its 40th year, performed a sold out show of latin, jazz, and funk this past week at the Blue Llama, a gorgeous jazz club in Ann Arbor, MI. Left to right in the photo are Sam Clark (guitar), Jeff Dalton (bass), Olman Piedra (percussion), Aron Kaufman (congas), Brandon Cooper (trumpet), Paul Vornhagen (woodwinds), and Keaton Royer (piano). Jon Krosnick plays the drums. Last year included tours in California and England.
Sustainable Jazz Ensemble
Monday, May 15, 2023
Saturday, May 13, 2023
Link for Signing Up for Tonight's Performance
Our Sustainable Jazz Duo performs tonight at Salon 33 from 8-10, after an optional potluck at 7. Registration is required by the host: https://lookingglasspond.wufoo.com/forms/x1on5yya1r9z0mo/
The venue is on Alexander Rd on the way to the train station, with details provided upon registration. It's a nice performance space and community of people, and a donation-based event. We'll be performing all original music--some old, some new--spanning 40 years of composing.
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Playing Piano for "People and Stories"
I have two friends named Mimi, and by chance both are part of an organization called People and Stories that asked me to play some solo piano for their spring fundraiser. The forsythia was blooming in vases along the edge of glorious Mackay Lounge at the Seminary, and a grand piano was waiting to be played as people filtered in.play and talk about on my youtube channel. There's always someone who comes over and wants to talk at length while you're playing, and I was glad to see that my chops are good enough to carry on a conversation in the midst of performing.
The fundraiser event was very impressive--well attended, with a very articulate and moving expression of the organization's mission by one of its leaders, followed by a reading and Q and A by famed author Jennifer Egan. She kept the audience spellbound through her reading, the sort of rapt attention where you could have heard a pin drop. Egan is a gifted writer and an equally gifted presenter. It turned out to be their best attended benefit to date.
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Upcoming Performances of Sustainable Jazz
April 16 - Private event (Community Without Walls)
May 6, 3pm - Princeton Public Library -- Join us in the Community Room for tuneful, joyful all-original jazz and latin
May 13 - Salon 33 -- a long-standing music series, now based in West Windsor. Potluck at 7pm, concert at 8pm. Contact me for more info.
May 10 -- Blue Llama, Ann Arbor, MI -- I'll be performing many of my original compositions with the Lunar Octet.
Our Lunar Octet Plays the Dirty Dog
The Lunar Octet, our latin/jazz group now in its 40th year, played a four night engagement earlier this year at one of Detroit's premier jazz clubs, the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe. All-original music, sold-out shows, a standing ovation or two--it was a good week.
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Our Lunar Octet to Perform in the Detroit Area This Month
Monday, November 21, 2022
The Lunar Octet's Storybook Tour of England
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Sustainable Jazz to Perform at eCommuterfest
Fittingly enough, Phil Orr and I will bring our Sustainable Jazz to an event this Friday, September 30, hosted by Sustainable Princeton. Featuring electric bicycles and cars, the eCommuterfest will take place in the parking lot for Westminster Choir College from 4-7pm.
You can come to test drive an eCar or eBike, get a free tuneup of your existing bicycle, donate an old bike you no longer need, get some food or Bent Spoon ice cream, and of course listen to our original latin and jazz music wafting over the proceedings. Should be a great event hosted by the highly capable folks at Sustainable Princeton
Friday, September 2, 2022
Sustainable Jazz Plays its Original Music in Kingston Park
Thanks to the Kinston Historical Society and Fire Department for inviting us to perform for their first town picnic in eight years, in Kingston Park. The Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands was also there to share information about their work at what was long called the Mapleton Preserve.
Philip Orr taking it to the hoop on keyboard.
Saturday, August 27, 2022
Back From the Lunar Octet's Tour of California
A performance at Portola Valley Vineyards on August 21 completed our Lunar Octet tour in California.
Monday, July 4, 2022
This samba keeps getting interrupted before launching into a fullblown groove. Phil Orr on piano is a one-man samba. Composer Steve Hiltner performs on alto sax. Recorded live in April, 2022 in West Windsor, NJ.
Maybe More Than Maybe, Baby
Phil Orr and Steve Hiltner perform Steve's composition, Maybe More Than Maybe, Baby. The title is explained in the video's intro. Recorded in April, 2022 at a full house in West Windsor, NJ.
Saturday, February 26, 2022
Upcoming Performances and New Compositions
- The Sustainable Jazz duo will be performing Saturday, April 9 at Salon 33, out Alexander Road in West Windsor. You can join a potluck dinner at 7, followed by a performance from 8-10:15.
- April 25, a performance for members of Community Without Walls, who want to hear our original music along with an update on progress at Herrontown Woods and Veblen House. This one's not open to the general public.
Friday, February 25, 2022
This Year for the Lunar Octet: Gigs in Michigan, California, and England
For nearly 40 years I've been musical director for the group persistently known as the Lunar Octet, playing original jazz latin, with gigs this year in Michigan, California, and England.
To my right on the bandstand are the prolific performers Paul Vornhagen on various reeds and Brandon Cooper on trumpet and flugelhorn.
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
A Tribute to Phyllis Marchand -- Oct. 17
Thursday, October 7, 2021
Lunar Octet to Perform Nov. 3 at the Blue Llama in Ann Arbor, MI
The Lunar Octet's "Convergence" Tops the Charts for Hot New Latin Jazz
Through much of the summer, our 2021 Lunar Octet release, Convergence, was at or near the top of Amazon's "Hot New Releases in Latin Jazz." The many positive reviews and airplay around the world are documented on the Lunar Octet website. Though the band is a collective with no designated leader, I took on the informal role of musical director soon after the band formed in 1983, writing out charts and contributing compositions. It's a close-knit group, still based in Ann Arbor, MI. We love performing together, spreading the joy and feeding off the audience's response. Except for a couple covers of Tito Puente tunes, the music is all of our own creation. It's very exciting to see the music now getting heard around the world.
Monday, August 2, 2021
Lunar Octet Interview on "Alternative Venues for Jazz"
Our jazz/latin band, the Lunar Octet, was recently invited to be on Alternative Venues for Jazz, a facebook group started by Gail Boyd. Gail's a manager of artists, and each day she features jazz artists who talk about their lives and recent recordings. It's a great program and we were thrilled to be invited on. Drummer Jon Krosnick, bassist Jeff Dalton, and I spoke about our lives and the recent release of our album, Convergence, which is getting positive reviews and airplay around the world.our 30 minute self-interview, Jon and Jeff asked me to talk about the genesis of my life as a jazz musician and composer. To have a listen to all or part, click on the link above, not the photo.3:14 -- How I began composing music
14:18 -- How I started to improvise
Thursday, June 24, 2021
Our Lunar Octet "Convergence" CD Reviewed in Downbeat!
We were thrilled to see our newly released Lunar Octet recording reviewed in Downbeat Magazine. It's also been praised in Jazz Is, Jazz Thing, JazzWise, Jazz Weekly, El Chino, PhilsPicks, and in publications in Germany, France, and Japan. There are some nice quotes, like in Downbeat how the compositions "spur the impulse to dance and encourage intellectual engagement at the same time." That's definitely what we're going for. A review in German starts by saying, in translation, "Great stuff that we seldom get to hear these days. Perhaps because music that is not cutting edge is undervalued?" That's another characteristic of the band. Our compositions and performances go by Ellington's mantra: "If it sounds good and feels good, then it IS good."
CDs and downloads can be purchased on the Summit Records site, at Amazon, and elsewhere. Quick listens and streaming are available at Spotify and elsewhere.
Saturday, March 13, 2021
My Piano Talk Videos on Youtube
Over the years, I've written hundreds of small compositions for piano. Some I used in my teaching of kids and adults, others have sat patiently in files over the decades, awaiting some time in the sun. In these recordings on a piano with a special history, I play the compositions and talk about their personal, musical and sometimes political meaning.
The videos are gathered on this playlist on youtube, with names like "Why am I so happy?," "Carefree in Three," "Con-tin-u-ing," "Palindrome," and "Steve's Delight."