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Meilana Gillard

Ohio raised (London-born) saxophonist and composer Meilana Gillard emerged as a rising star on the New York scene whilst studying at the New School in the early 2000s.

She has worked with U.S. icons Charli Persip, Christian McBride and also Greg Osby, who released her debut album Day One on his Inner Circle Music label in 2009, as well as Debbie Reynolds, Glenn Campbell and the New York all-female big band DIVA. Based near Belfast since 2012, she's now set to release her second album Dream Within a Dream on May 26th via Lyte Records.

Choosing a chordless trio format, Meilana features MOBO nominated drummer David Lyttle, who has featured her in his own trio and alongside trumpet star Terell Stafford, and whose own recent studio collaborations include Joe Lovano and Talib Kweli. On bass is Co. Clare born Neil O'Loghlen, who is known for his work with guitar master Louis Stewart and Ensemble Eriu.


Balanced Action Tenor Saxophone (SN:28XXX), Regal Queen Reeds #4, Ted Klum Tonamax 7*, Francois Louis Lig



Meilana Gillard: Adventures In Sound

Read "Meilana Gillard: Adventures In Sound" reviewed by Ian Patterson

To nurture a sound on one's instrument--a personal voice--that is instantly recognizable, is not necessarily easy. It can be especially hard if following in a line of historical heavy hitters. Meilana Gillard, the Ohio-raised, Northern Ireland-based tenor saxophonist has been compared to Johnny Hodges, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Coleman Hawkins, Joe Lovano and Branford Marsalis by critics scrabbling to describe her warm, robust and melodic playing. Despite the universal praise for her formidable chops, Gillard keeps ...

Live Review

BAN BAM: Bianca Gannon, Carole Nelson, Meilana Gillard and RBG Trio At Crescent Arts Centre

Read "BAN BAM: Bianca Gannon, Carole Nelson, Meilana Gillard and RBG Trio At Crescent Arts Centre" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Bianca Gannon, Carole Nelson and Meilana Gillard / RBG TrioBAN BAMCrescent Arts Centre jny:Belfast, N. Ireland January 21, 2024 What do an Indonesian candy floss seller, a Hawaiian bird and the video game Sega Genesis all have in common? Well, in one way or another, and to different degrees, they all informed the music on a memorable BAN BAM (see below) triple bill in Belfast. The artists in question were, in running ...

Album Review

RBG Trio: RBG Trio

Read "RBG Trio" reviewed by Ian Patterson

From small acorns and all that. A Dublin gig in 2019 brought Ohio-raised, Derry-based saxophonist Meilana Gillard into the orbit of bassist Dave Redmond and drummer Kevin Brady. That became the springboard for an ongoing collaboration, pandemic be damned, that celebrates their mutual commitment with this fine debut album. All but two of the twelve straight-ahead originals are freshly minted, though the trio attacks these burners and ballads with the same swagger and intuitive feeling that are the hallmarks of ...

Album Review

Meilana Gillard: Dream Within A Dream

Read "Dream Within A Dream" reviewed by Ian Patterson

There are eight years between Ohio-born, Belfast-based tenor saxophonist Meilana Gillard's impressive debut, Day One (Inner circle Music, 2009), and her follow-up, Dream Within A Dream (Lyte Records, 2017) -simply way too long a gap for a musician and composer of her talents. Her debut, backed by Nir Felder, Tyshawn Sorey, Marcos Varela and Sam Barsh, flitted between classic jazz balladry and a more contemporary, upbeat vibe. For this all-acoustic outing, Gillard pins her old-school colors firmly to the mast, ...

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"Gillard is a gutsy, inventive player with a forceful melodic sense and an open, old- school tenor sound...Gillard’s full-throated contribution to the saxophone trio canon is as charming as it is courageous." - Cormac Larkin - Irish Times "Gillard can, you feel, boast complete technical control of her horn, though doesn't need to demonstrate the fact every time she solos. There's plenty of fire in Gillard's playing, to be sure, but it's a passion tempered by lyricism and a firm narrative bent, qualities than make Dream Within a Dream a consistently rewarding experience." - Ian Patterson - All About Jazz "...her style can go seamlessly from tough muscularity to tender romance" - Trevor Hodgett - Belfast Times (last update June 27, 2017).

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Primary Instrument

Saxophone, tenor



Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


Contact for details.

Clinic/Workshop Information

Contact for details.



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

RBG Trio

Auragami Records


Dream Within A Dream

Lyte Records


Day One

Inner Circle Music




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