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Billy Kilson: Nasty Pitch

Billy Kilson: Nasty Pitch
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He is an incredibly charismatic individual and when you infuse that with his immense talent, it makes it hard for other people to sit in that chair and have the same sort of impact.” —Chris Botti
Here's the wind up. And the pitch. Whoa, did you see that one folks? That pitch was just nasty.

In baseball, occasionally a ball gets thrown by the pitcher that is so good, so perfectly placed, so unbelievable, the announcer calls it nasty. The opposing batter doesn't have much chance of hitting it, but can only look back at the mound and tip his hat with respect.

Occasionally, the same thing occurs in music. Atop a musical mound, there sits a drummer who is so good, so in tune with his instrument, so in the moment, that he is just nasty. That drummer is Billy Kilson
Billy Kilson
Billy Kilson
b.1962
drums
.

Trumpeter and bandleader Chris Botti
Chris Botti
Chris Botti
b.1962
trumpet
calls hiring Kilson as "perhaps one of the greatest moves of my career." And just like in baseball, it all began with a phone call out to the bullpen, albeit a musical one. But first, Botti had to make sure Kilson was a worthy recruit.

Botti and Kilson first met around 1998, according to Botti, when Kilson played drums for jazz pianist Bob James
Bob James
Bob James
b.1939
piano
and Botti was James' opening act. Botti got along well with the drummer and remembered Kilson when Botti had the opportunity to open for Sting, who was beginning a world tour in 1993.

Botti, knowing that Sting has great taste in drummers, knew he had to put someone of high caliber up there on the stage, too. "I knew I had better come back with an amazing drummer. I quickly thought of Billy and reached out to him to join my group," says Botti.

But before Botti made that fortuitous phone call to Kilson, he first had to complete his scouting report, which meant a call to long-time college friend Shawn Pelton. Pelton is the drummer for the Saturday Night Live band as well as a well-respected studio musician.

Recalls Botti, "At the time, before Billy, I usually had jazz drummers or kind of rock drummers, more popular kind of rock drummers. I called Shawn up and I said, 'Listen, I have this opportunity to go out with Sting and I was thinking of hiring Billy Kilson. What do you think about that?'

And Shawn, knowing Billy, said 'Man, I think it is a brilliant idea. And you are going to get so much more than a drummer. You are going to get this guy that can play the drums the way nobody else can and in doing so, you are going to look like the smartest guy in the room!' I told him I had a hunch he would say that so I went ahead and called Billy and talked him into it."

While the phone call from Botti to Kilson turned out to be career changing for both musicians, it certainly took some convincing on Botti's part to get Kilson to take the gig. Kilson and his wife had a new baby boy and, understandably, he wanted to stay close to home—which meant that Botti wasn't perhaps completely honest with Kilson about his offer.

"I lied and said whatever I could," Botti admits. "I call it the Gilligan's Island con—I basically said whatever I could to kind of calm his fears that this was going to be an incredible experience, we would get to be with Sting, etc., etc. There would be beautiful venues, we would be throughout Europe, and all that kind of stuff. And it was only going to be three months, I promised him. And here we are nine and half years later."

Because of Botti's passion for the music and an intuition that Kilson could take the band to another level entirely, Botti was willing to bend the truth a bit. And his hunch, as it turns out, was an accurate one. "More than that tour, Billy was the first kind of notion that the show could be so much more than just a jazz show. It could be entertaining and popular, and I hate to use the word because Billy is not pop, but he is so arresting. He is such a fantastic musician. There are a lot of fantastic musicians out there, but he is so much more than that. He is so charismatic. People can't take their eyes off of him. That is something that I've tried to make with all the people in the group, really tried to make it so you would have great, great musicians playing on a really super high level, but they are so much more than that. They are beyond their instruments. Billy is that times a million. That phone call for Billy to join my group has probably done more for my career than anything."

Kilson currently performs almost nightly with Botti, as well as sharing the stage with pianists Billy Childs
Billy Childs
Billy Childs
b.1957
piano
and Geoffrey Keezer
Geoffrey Keezer
Geoffrey Keezer
b.1970
keyboard
(who share the role), guitarist Leonardo Amuedo and bassist Richie Goods.

Kilson has seen some changes in the band throughout his tenure but still he stays. "I'm the lone ranger here, the only guy to stick it out. I don't know why, but I am still here. At least I can be the guy that keeps the Cheerios on the table," he quips.

Kilson started playing drums at the age of sixteen, an age where many musicians are already seasoned veterans. At sixteen, Billy attended the Maryland Gifted and Talented Institute for High School Students. He then went on to Berklee College of Music, which eventually led to gigs with Donald Byrd
Donald Byrd
Donald Byrd
1932 - 2013
trumpet
, Ahmad Jamal
Ahmad Jamal
Ahmad Jamal
b.1930
piano
, Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves
b.1956
vocalist
, Dave Holland
Dave Holland
Dave Holland
b.1946
bass
, and, since 2004, his current gig with Botti.


According to bassist Goods, "Billy has been here the longest, and that in and of itself is a testament to what kind of person he is to be able to stay and deal with personalities for nine plus years. Billy is the spark of the band. From beat one, he gives one-hundred percent for the whole show every night, without exception. Although he stands out, he is really a team player."

Goods continues, "Billy is definitely our big brother. Mark Whitfield
Mark Whitfield
Mark Whitfield
b.1966
guitar
(former guitarist with the band) used to call him 'Big Bruh.' I do as well sometimes and I also call him 'Sensei.' He taught me how to keep the gig. I would and still do call him for advice. At times he will pull me aside and tell me what or what not to do or how to act in a situation. We really are like a family. We look out for each other."

Kilson's laid-back attitude is something his fellow band mates appreciate. Keezer says, "Billy is a very quiet and calm individual offstage, and he mostly keeps to himself. Not anti-social by any means, but he doesn't get involved too deeply in the day-to-day B.S."

The pianist continues, "Billy is a consummate professional in every sense of the word—he brings to the table not only his talent, but the highest level of professionalism and musicality that only comes from experience. This includes a great work ethic and super cool, easy-going attitude—and a willingness to try anything."

Guitarist Whitfield agrees, "Kilson is a consummate performer. His calm and quiet offstage demeanor would surprise anyone who's ever seen him perform." Whitfield says the one thing he admires most about Kilson is his discipline.

Botti concurs, "Throughout being sick, or being in a bad mood, or being jetlagged, Billy stays professional. I've seen it in myself when I just can't get through the set and I am playing terribly. I never really have seen that in Billy. And I've seen him time after time after time when it comes his moment to shine and he never, I mean never, fades off. I can't really say that about any other artist. And I've worked with everyone in the business. Billy, night after night, no matter what's going on, is so professional. He has that "X factor." Billy has that super, rare gift of being able to wow you with his unbelievable talent and make you laugh or make you feel something from him visually. And then yet he is such a professional at the same time."

According to Kilson, "The ultimate goal is the simple proverbial thing that you hear everyone say: I want to play better today than I played yesterday. Music is life to me. Bird [Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
] said, 'What you live comes through your horn.' To me, what I live comes through that performance that day. However I function that day, whatever happened to me that day, or what has happened to me in life up until that point, is going to influence everything I have to say when I sit down behind the drums."

Like Charlie Sheen's character in Major League, Kilson gets noticed before he even takes his place atop the musical mound. Botti explains, "He has such unique thing. It's so Billy Kilson. When someone else tries to do it, well, they are just trying to rip off Billy Kilson. It's so instantly identifiable. And when other artists try to find their own thing on the drums, it just sort of misses for me. Even the way he sits at his drums between songs, Billy is just interesting to watch. The way he towels his face off, or he looks around, chewing his gum. Or the way he walks on stage, it is kind of slow. Whatever it is, he doesn't even have to be playing the damn drums!"

Botti continues, "It's very sensual the way he plays the drums. It's very macho, but it's not music school macho. It's hip. It's very cool the way he does it.

"I can't take my eyes off of him. So I thought to myself, well, if I was sitting in the audience, that's what I would want to see. I'd want to see this more buttoned-up white guy playing the trumpet with this kind of insanity going on beyond him. How interesting that would be for the audience. And over time, seeing Billy is probably the part that the audience likes most. They go crazy at the end of Billy's solo, and they stand up at the end of every show. The greatest phone call I've made in my career was probably that one—that call to Billy."

If he were a ball player, Kilson would definitely have a theme song. As it is, Billy Kilson is the theme song. According to Botti, "He is an incredibly charismatic individual and when you infuse that with his immense talent, it makes it hard for other people to sit in that chair and have the same sort of impact."

According to Whitfield, "Billy Kilson is the engine that drives the Botti Band. Without him, there is no energy, no power, no groove and therefore no show!"


In addition to the long-standing gig with Botti, Kilson has also had the opportunity to record his own albums and, most recently, put out a live DVD/CD combination package titled Rhythm Dancer. The title of the collection came from Motor Booty Affair (Casablanca, 1978) by Parliament. Explains Kilson, "When I was in high school, besides Earth, Wind & Fire
Earth, Wind & Fire
Earth, Wind & Fire

band/orchestra
, Parliament Funkadelic was my favorite, favorite band. George Clinton has a little soliloquy just before the song called "Mr. Wiggles" where he says, 'the rhythm is a dancer/realize, realize that the rhythm is a dancer.'"

The phrase stuck in Kilson's head. "When I first played drums, everyone in high school teased me. 'Billy doesn't just play drums, why does he have to move his shoulders, why does he have to do this?' Because you normally see a drummer and he is sitting there, not stoically, but he is sitting there with great posture and he plays the hell out of the drums. I can't do that. So Paula (Crafton, Kilson's manager) and I were going back and forth about a title. She said, 'But you dance on the drums, you dance on the drums.' So I told her that I remember this thing that George Clinton said in this poem. We asked George if it was okay to use it, and he granted us that permission. That was really cool!"

While Kilson is at ease behind his drums, being front and center is not a role he relishes. The drummer says being the front man on Rhythm Dancer was a challenge for him. "I've done a lot of video recording as a sideman drummer, but not the bandleader. And that was challenging. I don't envy what Chris does at all because it is a whole other head-trip when you are in the front. Though you have great musicians, it is still on you. And you have to conduct, and so on. I still try to play the normal role, because that's the most comfortable for me, and that's just playing my regular drum role. But doing that DVD was quite challenging. I'm proud of how it came out and I've gotten great reviews and people say they enjoy it and that's the most important thing—that everyone enjoys it. It was just a new experience. I am looking forward to the next one."

While Kilson is now able to enjoy a rewarding and well- respected career, it didn't come easily and it didn't come quickly. "I had some little speed bumps in the road. I started playing the drums at sixteen, and I went to Berklee College of Music right out of high school at eighteen-and-a-week years old. So at around nineteen, I thought, this is definitely no doubt what I want to do."

While at Berklee, Kilson was surrounded by the success of his peers. Recalls Kilson, "They were successful at an early age, before they were even twenty, or at twenty. That was the internal drive for me—I was surrounded by success there. It was not happening to me, but I was surrounded by it."

"I started gigging a bit late, later than most of my peers. I am two years younger than Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
b.1960
saxophone
and I went to school with him and a whole slew of jazz musicians who are in Who's Who right now," Kilson continues. "They were performing while they were students at Berklee. They were traveling around the world, and there I was, going to harmony class."

"But I had six years there [at Berklee], so what the heck did I do? I wasn't one of the lucky ones. I guess my mother would say I was fortunate because I'm at least one of the few who graduated from Berklee."

Paying rent became a higher priority than pursuing music, which led Kilson to a job at the local phone company. "I stayed in Boston, where Berklee is located, until I was twenty-six, twenty- seven—it was maybe eight or nine years that I stayed in Boston. So it was a bit late, at twenty-five, having my first professional gig. I had aspirations way before that, absolutely, five or six years before that."

How did he handle the wait, while his peers were succeeding all around him? "Besides being so despondent and melancholy? That was always in my tin cup. Not 'Muddy' and not 'Water.' It was, 'This is the Melancholy Cup and this is the Despondent Cup.' I thought, 'Yeah, what am I going to do?'"

Kilson's ego may have been the only thing that saved him when he had doubts about his career choice. "I did go to school with kids who, after one semester, decided that they just couldn't take it and said, 'Oh, heck, no!' I wanted to do that, too, but I had too much pride. I couldn't go back home. And have my friends tease me? No way!"

But a customer Kilson met one night in a bar changed his outlook completely. Kilson explains, "I was playing in a club called Wally's Café in Boston. That's where I learned to play jazz proper and even how to perform publicly. It was on one break and I was telling a guy how frustrated I was that I see guys, like my peers in school, and they are playing with this band, that band, and they are traveling here and they are traveling there. And the guy said simply, 'Don't worry about getting the gig—worry about being ready for the call.'

"And that's how I got through. Every day I kind of flipped it, if you will, and I said 'Okay, what I am going to do is this—I am going to prepare myself so that when the person calls, I'm ready.' As opposed to just being in this melancholy state and just sitting around sulking, sulking, sulking. What if the person does call and I say, 'Oh, I need about six months to practice?' I just flipped it. It's all psychological. It was that person. I guess it's the whole form of perseverance. That's what I did. That's what got me through."


But did he have a back up plan in case things didn't turn out as he hoped? He didn't but his mother did. Kilson explains, "I have to thank my mom for my backup plan. The first two years I was going to Berklee, I didn't have an apartment. I was still staying in the dorms. So my mother would make me go to the local community college during the summer. This was around 1980, '81 '82. At that time, the future was computers, computer programming or whatever. She made me take courses in everything with computers. Not programming, but everything about computers, data entry, word processing, that kind of stuff. She said, you never know, you might need this skill. And lo and behold I was one of the few musicians that graduated from Berklee without a gig! So I was a customer service rep for New England Telephone."

"Of course, it would be easy to say that I was paranoid and thought that everyone was making it but me, but it was true! They nicknamed the time I went to Berklee from 1978 to 1986, the 'Golden Years of Berklee.' Realistically, twenty to thirty percent of the students at Berklee make it like that and are very successful. In any kind of academia, whether it is high school, or you have a kid in Little League, or a kid that's an actor, it's only that one child from the school who becomes successful. So twenty percent is pretty big."

Yet Kilson never saw it as a competition. The musician explains, "I remember talking with my grandmother after my first semester at Berklee and I said, 'It's hard and I don't know if I made the right choice.' She told me that horses have blinders. They don't see left or right, they just see straight ahead. That's what you have to do.'

"So myself and the drums, we went by ourselves with the blinders on. I didn't see any competition. And I never do. I don't see, 'Oh, this guy is doing better than me or whatever.' I never see that. If you see me play, I'm a kid. It's just me and the drums. I have a great time. And that's how I got through. It would have slowed me down if I started comparing. I would have never progressed."

With the benefit of hindsight, Kilson is able to view the situation with a bit more clarity and wisdom. "A lot of those guys started playing musical instruments when they were pretty young. I think Chris said he started playing trumpet when he was seven or eight. So by me starting ten years later, when I look back, it makes sense, because I had a lot of catching up to do. You are not going to be able to retain all of that after you've only played a couple of years. But at eighteen, twenty, twenty-two, I didn't want to hear that. I would have thought, 'That's stupid!' But I am fifty now, maybe a little wiser, and it kind of makes sense. When I was twenty I had only been playing drums for four years. There were guys at school that had already been playing their instruments for ten years, plus. So it makes sense that they could grasp whatever skills they need to use or utilize or even understand in order to work professionally."

Does he harbor any resentment? "I would be bitter about it maybe, if I was still working at the phone company! But I can't begrudge that I started out so late. No way. Those guys were way ahead of the game. Because it's math, basically. They had a ten year start on me. There's no way you are going to catch that guy. It is impossible."

Kilson gives credit for his musical success to his three heroes: his mother, drummer Alan Dawson
Alan Dawson
Alan Dawson
1929 - 1996
drums
and pianist Ahmad Jahmal. "From the start, it was my mom. What success I have, I owe to her. She supported me from day one. She taught me to stay focused, to have faith in myself and my abilities, and that anything is attainable.

"And then there's Alan Dawson. Bar none, he's the guy who instilled my inner inspiration. I love the phrase this guy used once: 'If it sounds good, it's all my teacher.' So I would have to say, if there are any mistakes, that's all me—but if it sounds good, I have to say it's all Alan."

Kilson went to Berklee to specifically study with Dawson. Kilson recalls, "I had gone to this music camp my senior year in high school, and I wasn't sure where I wanted to go to college; this drummer was telling me I should go to Boston. He said there is this great teacher at Berklee College of Music, and he taught Tony Williams. He told me I should go see Alan, that Alan could help me. The one and only reason I went to Berklee was to study with Alan. But, when I got to Berklee, he had stopped teaching there. His last semester was in the spring prior to my fall semester. I freaked out! I didn't know what I was going to do. He was teaching at his home, which was ten, maybe fifteen, miles from Berklee. But he had a waiting list."

It still took two more years and some additional courage before Kilson felt he was ready to be under Dawson's tutelage. Kilson explains, "It wasn't until I was twenty, maybe, that I got to study with him. This is not because of the waiting list, though. I went with some friends of mine to go see him play, during my first semester. Once I saw him, I thought, 'No way could I study with that guy!'


"I grew up playing pop and funk music, and Alan Dawson was playing primarily jazz. It's like hearing English, English, English your whole life, and then walking into a place where everyone is speaking Russian or Arabic, and there's this kind of calligraphy on the wall. You're like, 'Whoa! Wait!' So I thought, 'No way am I going to study with him. I have to practice some more before I even ask this guy.'"

Kilson continues, "So, fast-forwarding a couple of years, I played at the Jazz Society Picnic. I was really into Philly Joe Jones at the time, so I had memorized everything that Philly Joe Jones played. Alan Dawson was playing at this picnic. I was playing with this band, and he was going to play later. He was off to the back and talking to someone while I was playing. I could see him slowly approaching the stage. As I finished the solo, I walked off the stage, and he grabbed my left hand and asked me, 'How are you able to play that without any formal training? It's obvious you haven't had any formal training. How are you able to play that, though?'

I said, 'Well, Mr. Dawson, I practice with tapes, and I try to learn it.'

He replied, 'Come see me, and I can help you get to your destination much faster and much easier.' That was his way of saying, 'We'll skip everyone down the waiting list, and you can move to the front of the pack and come to my lessons.' I was so moved, but I was freaked! Talk about a kid on Christmas Day! All my dreams came true!"

Kilson's relationship with pianist Ahmad Jamal began in 1989. Recalls Kilson, "Even when I worked with him, I would call Alan from the road and say, "I don't know how to do this. What's happening with this? What do I need to do, to practice this?"

Kilson knew he was nearing the end of his time studying with Dawson when the elder drummer put him through what Kilson calls a " Kung Fu" moment. Explains Kilson, "Toward the end of my apprenticeship, Alan stopped teaching me physically; I would just sit there for an hour, and we would exchange philosophical ideas. My lessons had graduated to that. Then, I still say, he kicked me out. My last lesson was almost like Kung Fu where the blind guy tells David Carradine, 'If you can snatch the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave." Alan gave me what they call the "ritual," which is the ultimate goal to achieve. That was the physical "snatch the pebble from the hand" moment, even though I still had a couple of years to go.

"But since I was playing with Ahmad Jamal, Alan said, 'There's nothing else I could really teach you, more than what you could learn from Ahmad Jamal.' I felt like I was just getting started! Are you kidding? I was there for seven-and-a-half years, and I was learning so much from him. Of course there was the physical teaching, but I also was learning so much from him philosophically that was fruitful to my being a drummer and a musician.

"Alan was right in a sense because Ahmad Jamal is the third person I would say influenced me. Before I studied with him, I was just a drummer. After touring with him for over a year, I became a musician. So it's that trinity which influenced me the most: my mom, Alan Dawson, and Ahmad Jamal."

How did his education at Berklee help him along his musical journey? "Berklee to me was a blessing in disguise because it is for the musician. For me, at that time, it was great where you had a raw talent, because the environment, not just the school, the environment, created this place and this space for you to develop this raw talent and kind of smooth out the edges. So I needed those four and a half years."

Though certainly not a nine-to-fiver, Kilson has his "typical" workday down to a science. "Lobby call is at six or seven in the morning, the airport could be at an average half hour, forty-five minutes away, so by the time you get to the hotel in the next city, it is around two o'clock. Then sound check is at 5:30. We do the gig and repeat that cycle. I actually don't have too much free time."

A fair bit of that "free time" is spent waiting in airports. Though Kilson admits he prefers the tour bus to the airport. "I don't have to take my laptop out, I can take my shoes off, and I can get horizontal. Being fifty now, every little wink I can is great," says Kilson. Yet waiting around for flights is just par for the course in the life of a musician.

So how does Kilson wile away that time? Bassist Goods says, "No one knows. His nickname is 'The Phantom.' He kinda disappears. You never see him in the airport; he just appears on the plane."

Not listening to music, as one would think. Kilson's wife is Japanese and Japan is a favorite place of his to visit, a second home he says. "I love the Japanese culture, the language. I speak to my children exclusively in Japanese. Chris still teases me because ever since we met, when my son was seven months old, my goal was to speak to my mother-in-law, who doesn't speak any English. I wanted to speak to her and then it evolved to having my children maintain their mother's tongue. I've been feverishly trying to learn; I am probably in the third or fourth grade right now. So if I do have a day off, or if someone sees me at the airport—and the band knows this—if they see me and I have my headphones and my Ipod or my laptop, I am watching some Japanese show or I am listening to Japanese."

Kilson continues, "It's between that and whatever the history of the day is. I am kind of a nerd and I spend time trying to find out what's up with that. I am not a historian, but I am a wanna- be historian. So I spend my spare time between history, Japanese, and no doubt, the New York Knicks and Washington Redskins."

With playing almost three-hundred nights a year with Botti, Kilson selflessly says that his favorite part of performing with the trumpeter is not the drum solo that Kilson performs to the crowd's delight, but rather when Botti chooses a young musician out of the audience and invites him or her onstage to perform a number with the band. "That's a great moment when those kids come up and play and I really look forward to that every night. Just seeing the joy in their faces! They are so elated and vibrant and sometimes shaking nervously. All over the world he does that. Any country that we are in, he will invite a kid up, and that's a great moment."

When performing onstage, Kilson becomes an extension of his instrument. It is difficult to differentiate where the drumstick ends and his fingers begin. Kilson agrees, "I am the drums. If no one is sitting there playing the drums, they are a very quiet, laid-back. You wouldn't have any idea what force that instrument has. Until someone sits behind it and grabs a stick and hits it."

Quiet and laid-back can also aptly describe Kilson's personality when not on stage. He has his electric persona when it is time to play, but is much more introspective when it's not. "I am more like the red light kind of guy, if you will. When I see that light come on, whether there is a camera, or whether it is the studio saying 'rolling' or if the announcer onstage introduces the band, then I am good to go. I don't know what it is. I become one with the drums."

He continues, "Chris teases me. He says Billy is in a cocoon during the day. Billy always stays in first gear to conserve that energy but when we get on stage, I don't know what the last gear is, but whatever that last gear is that's where Billy starts when he is onstage."

Band members agree with Kilson's duality. Bassist Goods says, "On stage he is Mr. Electric. Off stage he is Mr. Mellow. The coolest dude you want to meet. Never in a rush. Just chillin.'"

According to pianist Keezer, "Billy has a one-word code that he likes to use when tensions run high or things get whack on the road—steady. It reminds everyone to calm down and take things lightly."

Besides his drumsticks, there is one thing Kilson will not begin a performance without—his chewing gum. In fact, it is so much a part of his drumming, that Kilson teasingly muses, "I think I need an endorsement. Not for sticks and cymbals and drums, I need a gum endorsement. I would rather not have the gum. But not having the gum, it's like Kryptonite. In the last fifteen, twenty years or so, it's gotten worse and worse and worse."

According to Kilson, playing the drums was not a conscious choice he made. "I wish I had had the opportunity to make that choice, but they chose me. They said, 'Hey, guy, come over here and sit down. We think you'll like these.'"

Kilson adds, "My mother, if she were still alive, would say, 'This boy always wanted to play drums.' I tore up all her furniture. I didn't get a drum set until I was sixteen, but everything you could think of, I was beating and banging on. I'm doing something I always wanted to do all my life. And I am very, very, very, very fortunate. Very fortunate.

"The thing that I love about music is that it transcends any race, any culture, any politics, and any religion. If it's performed purely, if it's from your heart, it is going to connect to someone who doesn't even like that kind of music.

"Music is life. For me, how I get through life is the strength of water. What I mean is that water is so strong, yet soft. You can't hold it in your hands, but it is strong enough to penetrate a rock. That's music for me; that's my artistry. That's my being, and I try to be like water—tangible. You can drink it, but it has that substance and strength of being able to penetrate anything. Anything."

Selected discography:

Billy Kilson, Rhythm Dancer (Tuniverse, 2012)
Chris Botti, Impressions (Columbia, 2012)
Larry Carlton
Larry Carlton
Larry Carlton
b.1948
guitar
& Tak Matsumoto, Take Your Pick (335 Records, 2010)
Chris Botti, In Australia (Universal Distribution, 2010)
Chris Botti, Live in Boston (Columbia / Sony Music Distribution , 2009)
Chris Botti, Italia (Sony Music Distribution, 2007)
Billy Kilson, Pots & Pans (Aspirion/Arintha Star, 2006)
Chris Botti, Live: With Orchestra and Special Guests (Sony Music Distribution, 2006)
Chris Botti, To Love Again: The Duets (Columbia, 2005)
Dave Holland
Dave Holland
Dave Holland
b.1946
bass
, Overtime (Sunny Side, 2005)
Chris Botti, When I Fall in Love (Columbia / Sony Music Distribution, 2004)
Dave Holland Big Band, What Goes Around (ECM Records, 2002)
Dave Holland
Dave Holland
Dave Holland
b.1946
bass
, Not for Nothin' (ECM Records, 2001)
Dave Holland Quintet, Prime Directive (ECM Records, 2000)
Billy Kilson, While Ur Sleepin' (Truspace Records, 2000)
Dave Holland Quintet, Points of View (ECM Records, 1998)

Note: Portions of this interview originally appeared in the book, The Soul of Jazz: Stories and Inspiration from Those Who Followed the Song in Their Souls.

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