A great artist needs great influences.
For over 20 years, Erik Hjelt has derived inspiration from such notables as Dave Grusin, Lee Ritenour, Fourplay, Quincy Jones, David Foster, Take 6, The Yellowjackets, George Benson, The Rippingtons, and Ivan Lins. They emerge in his records from time to time, but his fingers paint the ivories with his own earthy sound. Vibrant harmonies saturate the musical landscape, as rhythms add texture.
Erik's been writing original music since the 6th grade. Piano studies with Portland jazz pianists George Mitchell and Randy Porter developed Erik’s keyboard skills. He wrote the main theme for “She’s Only in My Dreams” at 14. He was awarded at over a dozen jazz festivals in high school before attending Whitworth University in Spokane, WA, where he played in jazz ensembles while studying music composition.
He was featured in a piano duo with Eric Reed performing “Night in Tunisia” and his combo opened for Wynton Marsalis.
The last seven years have seen Erik in the Vail, CO area, with a regular gig at the Kings Club at the Sonnenalp, as well as appearances at the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch, The Arrabelle, The Four Seasons, Club Wyndham Avon and Harvest Vail.
Erik’s debut release, self-titled “Aspen Groove”, is available in mp3 format on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google Play, and is streaming from its namesake channel on Pandora.