One of Hilario's major creative partners has been dynamic Cuban trumpet player, Arturo Sandoval. In 1981, Sandoval formed his own group. Hilario was an integral part of this dynamic ensemble, acting as composer, arranger and producer, as well as playing both piano and electric keyboard. This popular and innovative group performed at major international jazz festivals and venues for more than a decade - sharing stages with legendary musicians such as the late Dizzy Gillespie and composer/arranger Michel Legrand.
In 1990, Hilario felt that it was time to form his own group, aptly titled "Perspectiva". The musically innovative ensemble performed to packed and enthusiastic crowds throughout Latin America and Europe. In addition, "Perspectiva" released two critically-acclaimed CDs, Tiembla Tierra and Buscando Cuerdas. A year later, Hilario made another creative connection that has brought him to international attention. As a member of Canadian multi-saxophonist Jane Bunnett's "Spirits of Havana", he performed in concert, and on the recording of the same name â�¦ which subsequently won the Juno Award for Best Latin Jazz Recording. Always looking to stretch his creative boundaries, Hilario Duran released his first solo piano CD, Francisco's Song in 1996 on the Montreal-based "Justin Time" record label. A follow-up project for "Justin Time", Killer Tumbao, was released in 1997, and featured an array of Cuban musical giants, including legendary percussionists Changuito and Tata Guines. The CD was a huge hit, garnering raves for critics and the public alike, as well as a saturation of airplay in both Canada and the U.S. 1998 was a year of transition and creativity for Hilario Duran. After re-locating to Canada with his family, he released Habana Nocturna, which noted author Nat Chediak referred to as "A landmark album of Cuban jazz in the 90's".
Since his move to Canada, Hilario Duran has become an integral and important part of the Canadian music scene, and is a invaluable member of the jazz faculty at Humber College, acting as both an adjunct piano professor and ensemble director. He has continued to work in collaboration with Jane Bunnett, appearing on a number of her recordings, and has also acted as a composer, arranger and pianist for both feature films and animated cartoons. In 2000 and 2001, Hilario appeared internationally with a variety of performance groups, including an appearance at "The Modern Drummer Festival" with Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, John Patitucci and Michael Brecker, also, a memorable performance at The Barranquilla Jazz Festival in Columbia, as well as engagements with an "All Star" band that included heavy-weight musicians Dave Valentin, Juan Pablo Torres, John Benitez, and "Patato" Valdes. In 2001, he formed a cooperative Quartet with his long-time musical brother, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez on drums, Carlos del Puerto, Jr. on bass and Roberto Vizcaino on percussion.
With his most recent release, From The Heart , Hilario has realized his long life dream. A showcase for the cuban born, Toronto-based musician's love for his native country's seminal Jazz Band Orchestras, this recording features Duran's rhythmically sophisticated compositions and sensual arrangements written for his exciting 20-piece Latin Jaz Big Band. It features Grammy Award winning jazz great Paquito D'Rivera and drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, along with a who's who of Canadian jazz greats.