Bett Butler & Joël Dilley
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Bett Butler & Joël Dilley

San Antonio, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE | AFM

San Antonio, Texas, United States | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Jazz Singer/Songwriter




"Review: Bett Butler, Joel Dilley at San Antone Café & Concerts"

"This talented married couple practically read each other’s minds at this stage of their tasteful musical partnership, which only means the surprises at these intimate shows are conveyed by a nod or a wink or a slight breath between the two. Their musical output has been especially superb of late, from Butler’s piano gracing Dilley’s latest jazz album “A New World” to the acclaimed collaboration with Azul Barrientos. Tuesday’s cool, low-key affair may just draw a special guest or two onstage. Playing since she was 3, singer-songwriter Butler’s jazzy, bluesy compositions are a joy to discover — and rediscover." - San Antonio Express-News

"Review: 'A New World,' Joel Dilley"

"With first-class collaborators, some of whom he's worked with for years, including his wife, pianist/vocalist Bett Butler, Dilley moves from earthy to esoteric, from mellow to funky. A New World features Latin rhythms, ballads, eclectic songs and singers operating in vocalese mode rather than singing lyrics. The wide-ranging collection of songs, Street of Seven Angels, Luz de la Luna, Will's Bassment and nine more, work individually and as a whole, making for a hip world."--Jim Beal, Jr. - San Antonio Express-News

"Blue Bett at Scat"

Don’t expect “lite jazz” here. The Houston-bred Bett Butler’s voice is sometimes hoarse and downright growly, but that’s usually the prelude for an unexpectedly soothing wail or a left-field, smirky stage whisper. She makes spontaneous, thrilling, but unflashy vocal choices based on the material, which she has usually written herself or with her partner Dilley. The snap-happy “Cold Front” is the fahrenheit-opposite of Peggy Lee’s “Fever.” (“What can I do to break the ice?” Butler pleads in one luscious soar). The string-laden “When Love Has Left the Room” is an alcoholic’s last stand, narrated by her with barfly pleasure. With bawdy horns set to slow, sauntering beats, “Bubba’s Inconvenience Store” might be Butler’s own version of a country novelty hit, in which she riffs splendidly about candy bars, armadillos, bottled water, hairstylist Jose Eber, and tow trucks – all while her car is stranded in a South Texas town.

In its most acid moments, Butler’s voice recalls the late-career performances of jazz great Annie Ross in Robert Altman’s sprawling flick “Short Cuts.” For the most part, though, Butler is warmer, fuller, and more agile in her phrasing of a lyric. Miss this Texas vocal powerhouse at your peril."--Jimmy Fowler - Ft. Worth Weekly

"The Window"

“The new Joël Dilley album is well worth the wait....Whether on acoustic or electric bass, Dilley shines with ample chops and imagination.” - Sound Check, KRTU 91.7

"Bett Butler"

"A sensitive songcrafter and beautiful performer....foxy and feisty, with a crisp and sometimes seductive voice which is distinguished by some unusual phrasing....Her keyboard work is effortless and silk-smooth...."--Sam Kendrick - Action Magazine

"Bett Butler"

“How can such a big voice come from such a tiny lady?....Watching Bett a lesson in crowd control. Her voice, her control of the ivories, and her interplay with the audience combine to weave a spell that makes you hers....Bett Butler is a gem.” - The San Antonio Current

"Bett Butler"

“How can such a big voice come from such a tiny lady?....Watching Bett a lesson in crowd control. Her voice, her control of the ivories, and her interplay with the audience combine to weave a spell that makes you hers....Bett Butler is a gem.” - The San Antonio Current

"Review: River of Hope"

"A collection of jazz tunes reflecting Mr. Dilley’s varied influences: Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and mainstream jazz...a deeply passionate and personal work....He deftly translates all the colors, sounds, and feelings associated with his life experiences into music....His rich bass is the stuff of heart beats, ocean waves, and other natural earth rhythms....”--Hannah Castellaw - WomanSpace

"Short Stories"

"This session confirms Butler's uncommon compositional and performing ability to work successfully with diverse musical themes and within a variety of frameworks. Recommended."--Dave Nathan - All Music Guide

"Short Stories"

"This session confirms Butler's uncommon compositional and performing ability to work successfully with diverse musical themes and within a variety of frameworks. Recommended."--Dave Nathan - All Music Guide

"Review: The Window"

“The beautifully rendered album reflects Dilley’s preoccupation with conceptual composition....Storytelling with instrumental music is a daunting task, but Dilley gives much thought to the ways music — without words — can articulate feelings and experiences.”—Gilbert Garcia - San Antonio Current

"Weekend Pick"

"Texas jazz vocalist shining star Bett Butler does the seemingly impossible: incorporate traits of Ella and Billie at the same time—Fitzgerald’s flowing grace and cadence with a bit of Holiday’s smoky husk." -

"Review: Short Stories"

"In her first release, Bett Butler...takes us on a jazz journey that blends a host of styles into a sound that is meticulously constructed, both musically and of the most exquisite voices since Minnie Riperton....sparkling vibrato and impressive range and control....Her poetry and vision, combined with keyboard prowess and sterling vocalizations, amuse and entertain track after track....This CD is a sheer joy to listen to."--Robert Lindquist - Singer Magazine

"Weekend Pick"

"As made clear on 'When Love Has Left the Room' from the new 'Myths & Fables' CD, this San Antonio singer/pianist is a true artist....Her forte is creating rich story songs fluttering over a South American/South Philly soundscape we have to call jazz because the right word hasn't been invented. Butler's not-so-typical Chamber Jazz Trio (with Joel Dilley on bass and Cecil Carter on trumpet) will bring a whole new vibe...."--Michael Corcoran - Austin-American Statesman

"Jazz Condition"

"Their simpatico as a musical duo was immediately apparent as they performed...perfectly in synch. Butler demonstrated a tremendous facility for scat singing, vocalizing over solo bass accompaniment....Dilley's bass playing is broad-toned, dexterous and harmonically advanced in a style slightly reminiscent of Miroslav Vitous but laced with an unmistakable touch of Texas soul. Both he and Butler are close to the blues conceptually, even while evidencing a classical education and advanced jazz technique. Butler is a unique package herself. Her voice, a smooth, slightly husky alto that can slide up to thrilling high notes, has a comfortable, soothing timbre but she changes attitudes from song to song with the facility of a trained actor, striking a balance somewhere between the silken elegance of Norah Jones and the edginess of Patricia Barber…. I marveled at the spell this singer could weave…recalling similar moments listening to Billie Holiday, Betty Carter, Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell. Bett Butler brought me to that place where music can salve the deepest wound, mend the heart most broken."--John Swenson - United Press International (


River of Hope (1998)
Short Stories (2000)
The Window (2006)
Myths & Fables (2007)
Boleros (2009)
A New World (2010)
American Sampler (2012)
Lullaby of the Flatlands (2013)










Their backgrounds couldn't have been more different. Bett Butler grew up in relative ease, her early musical experiences confined to church, school, and talent shows; while by age fourteen, Joel Dilley had endured great loss and was already touring to support his family as a professional musician. They met in San Antonio, when the fledgling jazz singer finally got up the courage to contact the first-call bassist for a gig. Their shared passion for music spilled over into the personal realm, and they married and built a recording studio and indie co-op record label, Dragon Lady Records. Along the way, Dilley toured internationally and played with Willie Nelson, Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, Herb Ellis, Tal Farlow, Arturo Sandoval, Richie Cole, Russian classical/jazz pianist Valery Grokhovsky, and regional symphony orchestras. He was a featured guest bassist on Public Radio International's "Whad'Ya Know," a featured composer on Texas Public Radio's "Classical Spotlight," and a featured soloist on Gemini Ink's "Writers Respond to Art" series at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Compositions from his three critically-acclaimed CDs have been licensed for broadcast and commercial use worldwide, including tracks on HBO, Food Network, Discovery Channel, and the Travel Channel. A nominee in the Jazz category of the Independent Music Awards and a finalist in the Instrumental Category of the International Songwriting Competition, he was awarded an Artist Grant in Musical Composition from the San Antonio Artist Foundation.

Dilley produced Butler's first album of original music, which won a "recommended" rating from All Music Guide; her second, which won a performance grant from the San Antonio Artist Foundation and included When Love Has Left the Room," first place winner in the Jazz category of the 2006 International Songwriting Competition out of over 10,000 entries worldwide; and her third, a critically-acclaimed collection which remained in the top 10 on iTunes' Great American Songbook chart its first week in release. Butler has also been included in the San Antonio Business Journal's annual list of "Women of Influence in the Arts," chosen by the City of San Antonio Office of Cultural Affairs for artist development training by the Creative Capital Foundation, and featured as the OCA's artist of the month. In 2010, she was the inaugural recipient of the Texas Music Coalition's Fred Weiss Memorial Grant for professional development, and in 2011, she was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame. Her album AMERICAN SAMPLER won the Cabaret category in the 2012 Independent Music Awards.

Bett Butler and Joel Dilley are on the roster of featured artists in the City of San Antonio's Community Arts Access Program and are the core of a variety of successful shows and ensembles:

THE DUET performs original rhythmic world jazz and approaches jazz standards with a singer/songwriter's ear, with Butler on piano/vocals and Dilley on acoustic bass in intimate settings

THE QUARTET adds a saxophonist and drummer with a repertoire ranging from sensitive swing and samba to powerful straight-ahead jazz.

THE NEW WORLD ENSEMBLE adds musicians on vocals, violin, horns, percussion, and computer effects for full orchestral arrangements of original world fusion.

GENIUSES OF AMERICAN MUSIC features Butler in a series of concert/lectures with author Dr. Herb Keyser on the lives and music of the creators of the Great American Songbook and the legendary performers who gave it voice.

For Further Information Please Contact:

Amanda Case
AIC Entertainment

Band Members