“I am very melody driven and start by whistling or singing a tune. Once I have that written down or typed into Sibelius, I can then start adding in chords and having some fun.”
'Words' - Sussex Jazz Magazine - July 2019
I was born and grew up in Southampton. Musically life was really busy until 12 years old. I had private piano lessons from the age of 7; school had provided me with free recorder and flute lessons; and they had a wonderful choir and orchestra which I absolutely loved. We rehearsed every week and did regular performances. I enjoyed a really rich musical life and left at 12 years old an outwardly confident child ready for the next stage.
That all changed when I got to Secondary School. In a way it was like a perfect storm . . .
Interview with Nick Lea - Jazz Views - Feb 2019
Brighton based composer/arranger and sometimes alto saxophonist/flautist, Hilary Burt seems to be one of the UK's best kept secrets. However with the release of her new album, Step Off And Fly with her band Blue Calluna, this will hopefully change.
She brings a freshness to her music that has an optimistic and sunny disposition, yet often fails to conform to expectations or genre limitations. Her work with Terry Pack's Trees allowed her to compose and arrange for a large ensemble presenting lots of colours with which to work, and remarkably she is also able to bring this skill to her writing for a smaller group too.
It was therefore a great pleasure to once again be able to talk to Hilary about her work, her new band, and their new recording.
Interview by Charlie Anderson from Sussex Jazz Magazine - Dec 2018
My compositions come from a knowledge of jazz and jazz harmony but my writing also has elements of latin, funk and folk. I decided that the most accurate genre is ‘jazz-folk’ but even that doesn’t fit many of my tunes.
I never think about ‘my sound’ (but according to others, I have one). I just start off on a song journey, humming a tune and see where it leads. It’s such an exciting period working on a tune - it’s one of the times I’m absolutely happiest and can forget about other stuff.
I’ve started telling stories in my songs now and that has been quite a recent development. The lovely thing is, I can write something in Sibelius, print it out, take it to the band, and it blows Sibelius out of the water. They are such wonderful musicians that the piece just grows 10 fold when we all play it together.
Earlier interview with Charlie Anderson (SJM) - Nov 2014
This interview describes my first album North Beach which was released in November 2014. It's an eclectic flute-led fusion of jazz, funk, african and latin with some electronica thrown in for good measure! Here I talk about juggling work and music - four years before Blue Calluna was formed.
How did you start out?
"I come from a musical family – both brothers are guitarists, both sing and compose; our Dad played the piano and loved doodling on the Hammond organ, John Shuttleworth style. My Aunty Betty, also my Godmother, played piano and taught singing in primary schools. I have a wonderful home movie of her playing the zither at my 5th birthday!
Read the full interview here . . . (opens in new window)