Lisa Hittle Jazz Plus

Written by Natasha Park

Oh, yes! It's the lady with the sax!

Meet Lisa Hittle. The most talented, dedicated and professional jazz musician in Wichita.

"Listening to Lisa play gives me a natural high," I once told my husband upon watching Lisa perform. Although we chuckled about this statement, I later found that scientific studies backed my observation.

Research on listening to improvisational jazz shows it improves focus and acuity. It slows the heart rate and relaxes the body. Even more fascinating is that jazz can boost the immune system after thirty minutes of listening, and the effect last up to thirty minutes after hearing. Improvisational jazz keeps us in the present moment. In short, we feel happy, invigorated — and we are healthier for listening.

Those good feelings must have resonated with Lisa when she attended a Maynard Ferguson concert as a sophomore in high school. "Upon seeing them play, I knew that's what I wanted to do,” she said.

Lisa holds a degree in music performance from Kansas State University. She also earned a degree in music education and a master's degree in music performance from Wichita State University.

After college Lisa played professionally with the famous Stan Kenton Orchestra. She has also performed with artists such as Clark Terry, Bob Hope, The Four Freshmen, Rodney Dangerfield, Joan Rivers and many other great acts.

Lisa became director of jazz at Friends University, where she stayed for thirty years. There, her groups won many college jazz festivals. They were selected to perform four times at the prestigious Jazz Educational Conference and fourteen times at the Kansas Music Educators Conference. In 2019 Lisa became professor emeritus.

Currently, Lisa runs her business, Lisa Hittle Jazz Plus. It's an entertainment resource for restaurants, venues, weddings, corporate events, celebrations and private parties held in the Wichita area. The majority of musicians who make up her bands are former students and faculty of great talent and professionalism.

The roster of dedicated musicians and diverse genres includes acoustic soloists, classical artists, jazz and rock. Whether it’s her own jazz duo, trio or quartet, or one of the many groups she works with, Lisa prides herself on her expertise to book top-notch groups for your event.

When asked if she’s keeping busy enough during retirement, Lisa said, "I'll always find something to keep me busy. But mostly, I have thoroughly enjoyed the extra time to hone my craft."

Don't miss a chance to see Lisa live this Valentine's evening at Larkspur. Listen, eat, and drink your way into a state of elated relaxation as Lisa performs. It will be the perfect feel-good atmosphere for a memorable Valentine's date.

Lisa Hittle is Wichita's remarkable, well-connected and sought after jazz musician and bandleader. For more information on performances and bookings, check out lisahittlejazzplus.com

 
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