Discover an entire time line of creative music by Gregory Hillman from the 1970 to today:
Gregory Hillman Live
Gregory Hillman was born in Seattle on August 29, 1977 and remembers hearing the organ and trumpet sounds from a very early age at Seabold United Methodist Church on Bainbridge Island.
Some studies have shown that exposure to sounds and music from an early age has aided in perfect pitch later in life. Gregory Hillman had plenty of exposure to music at this early age thanks to his parents and now has close to if not perfect pitch on command.
Gregory Hillman was given a rich musical environment in the 1980s including a Hammond organ from his grandmother. This organ was the first keyboard like instrument played by Gregory Hillman during childhood. Around the age of five his parents took him to local piano lessons all of which he quit shortly after starting. Somewhere around 1989 Gregory Hillman studied exclusively under Lei Lani Montague. She also performed weekly as the organist for a Kingston Washington Church and various other events. Most piano teachers up to this point only taught basic scales and memorization through sight reading. Lei Lani also focused on the understanding of classical improvisation, contemporary and European tonal chording, as well as the fundamentals of building chops and all of the tonal scales.
In many cases, early stage piano instruction consists of the replication of previously written music. This could include the replication of notes, time, rhythm, tempo, dynamics, and every other part of the piece. It is crucial when learning at a early stage and as a professional to teach basic dictation, composition, improvisation, and developing music with other artists. If you are looking for a piano teacher be sure they include this curriculum otherwise you may only improve as a playback device.
Through public education music classes Gregory Hillman played instruments such as the clarinet, the electric guitar, the electric and acoustic bass, the timpani, and many other instruments. Suquamish Elementary was the first place attended where he was exposed to a variety of woodwinds and group music lessons. At home in the 1980s there was computer equipment that Hillman would use to program basic compositions as well as Hammond organs, Rowland keyboards, Martin guitars, and a variety of other instruments. The eighties were filled with a variety of great music ranging from some of Miles Davis’s most sold music to George Benson’s bright originals and standards. The continued development of electronic music in the 80s had a huge influence on the instruments and the sound of Jazz. On a dedicated basis starting in the 80s, Gregory listened to Jazz bands that took electronics to new levels such as Weather Report and John McLaughlin.
Through public education music classes Gregory Hillman played instruments such as the clarinet, the electric guitar, the electric and acoustic bass, the timpani, and many other instruments. Suquamish Elementary was the first place offering group music lessons to Gregory. At home in the 1980s there was computer equipment that Hillman would use to program basic compositions. He would also practice on Hammond organs, Rowland keyboards, Martin guitars, and a variety of other instruments.
The eighties were filled with a variety of great music ranging from some of Miles Davis’s most sold music to George Benson’s bright originals and standards. The continued development of electronic music in the 80s had a huge influence on the instruments and the sound of Jazz. On a dedicated basis starting in the 80s, Gregory listened to Jazz bands that took electronics to new levels such as Weather Report and John McLaughlin.
Between the years of 1990 and 2000 Gregory Hillman was very involved with music education and performance. Starting in 1992 Greg was very active in the North Kitsap High School Jazz Choir and Jazz Band. He played piano for both classes and his class mates included Jazz vocalists Bub Pratt and Amy Shaw. He also played with Kyle Rowland on trumpet, and Kevin Blackwood on Drums in Poulsbo Washington before 1993. Most people would believe that playing with the High School Jazz Band before and after school would be enough but Greg formed small groups outside of school that would play at the local coffee shops, churches, and outside parks in the evenings and on weekends.
Gregory Hillman left High School in 1993 to home school so that he would have more time to practice piano under the supervision of Lei Lani and share musical study with the students at the Multi Dimensional Educational Resource Center in Port Townsend. Even though he did not join the High School for standard classes he still participated in the Jazz Band and Choir. Greg taught other students how to play piano at the resource center and went on to compete in the Washington State Classical Piano competitions.
In 1995 Gregory Hillman received a full ride scholarship after a brutal audition process at Olympic College in Bremerton Washington which would have been his last year at NKHS. He played in both the Jazz Band under Kent Curris and the Jazz Choir at the college. He received private instruction from Kent and played with Jazz Bands outside of the class including Dave Carson’s Quintet “Downbeat” and various other small groups. David Carson and Kevin Blackwood still perform live together. Through Olympic College Gregory Hillman was able to join the Monterey Jazz Festival and play on the Cruise Boat leaving from Monterey California up to Canada. There he met and played with many other artists including Roy Hargrove, the founder of “RH Factor.”
Gregory attended the University of Washington where he studied Jazz under Marc Seales and met other Jazz artists such as Victor Noriega, Eric Verlinde, and Tadd Morris. He studied music theory, dictation, transcription, African Ethnomusicology, performance, composition, and Jazz History. Outside of the University he played in touring groups such as "Third World County" at college parties, sororities, fraternities, other Greek events, as well as other college functions. Gregory graduated from the University of Washington in 2000 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Music.
From 2000-2010 Gregory Hillman has participated in and run a variety of both public and private live musical performances. Many of these performances can be seen on this site. In 2000 Gregory moved to California after performing with Third World County. He performed at local hotels and community centers for practice because he did not have a keyboard or a piano for almost a year. In 2001 Gregory created MARINAPALOOZA with others in Marina del Rey California. This festival is still around today and is experienced at a variety of harbors around the United States. In 2002 Greg began focusing on writing music to express the time and feeling in the Ventura County area. His sounds came from listening and performing with Jeff Elliott, Davey Miller, and other local Ventura artists. Gregory then formed Gregory Hillman’s Band in 2003 which performed at public and private events all over the United States. Many of the top musicians in the area formed the band including Nim Sadot, Brad Dawson, Dave Zyre, Doug Shreeve, Zach Morris, Riz, and others.
He performed live many times including a special performance in 2003 with Nim Sadot, Brad Dawson, and other artists at the Majestic Ventura Theater when he opened for the Neville Brothers. 2004 included many private events in Ojai, Baltimore Weddings, and California Art shows. Public performances with Bobby Campbell in Westlake at Ciscos were a weekly event for over four years. This bar burned shortly after Gregory Hillman, Bobby Campbell, Rod Weed, and Tim Conklin stopped performing their normal Thursday night rock covers from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Bobby and other artists are now performing there again.
Gregory then performed live in Seattle many times at west coast weddings and other public venues including the Treehouse Lounge in Poulsbo, Washington. Hillman now performs with Blue City and his own band at clubs and lounges like Capelli Lounge in Westwood, Wine Lovers in Ventura, and Zoey's in Ventura.
Through 2005-2009 Gregory has performed in many public venues and private events with musical artists like Matthew Gainsley, Patrick Clarke, and many other Jazz artists from St. John USVI to Seattle, Washington. One notable performance includes Gregory on live piano in his Hometown of Poulsbo Washington near Contractors Warehouse at The Treehouse Lounge in 2008.