hilton ruiz

Great Live Moments - Hilton Ruiz

Hilton Ruiz
So how can we say something so real has really gone away?
I hear him now, I always will
Believe me I remember Hilton still.

Those are actually the lyrics to "I Remember Clifford," one of the enduring jazz ballads by Benny Golson. With one modification. The name.
It should not go unnoticed that nearly two years ago, Hilton Ruiz lay unconscious on Bourbon Street in my hometown. What particularly stings me is that he was in New Orleans working on a benefit CD for and video about Hurricane Katrina victims.

It reminds me of a quote attributed to Dizzy Gillespie:
“Men have died for this music. You can’t get more serious than that.”

In 1986, Hilton Ruiz played the Steinway B in our performance studio.
Listen to "I Remember Clifford" from the WBGO Archives.

-Josh