About Us

Based in Princeton, NJ, the Sustainable Jazz Ensemble performs original compositions ranging in style from jazz to samba to funk, combining fresh melodies, inventive arrangements and improvisation. We perform primarily as a duo of saxophone/clarinet and piano, for concerts and private events, including fundraisers. We integrate into any event, with music that rewards close listening but can also serve as a pleasing background for socializing.

The name comes from leader Steve Hiltner's lifelong work leading environmental nonprofits. When pressed, we can get witty about it, and point out that the music is composed organically, using only local ingredients, natural chord progressions, and solar-powered imaginations. We are proud to say that no virgin timbres are harvested to make our music.

Performances are suffused with humor and positivity, without which no musician/environmentalist could survive. Each composition comes with a story. Fresh Paint was composed while breathing fumes in a freshly painted room--fortunately latex. Lunar Eclipse was composed while forgetting to check out the lunar eclipse that was going on outside. Originally named for its ascending bassline, Climbing the Mountain is a musical portrait of determination, struggle, and inspiring vistas. 

Many of Steve's compositions are also performed by the Michigan-based jazz/latin ensemble Lunar Octet, heard on 250 radio stations worldwide, with tours in 2022 of England, California, and the midwest.