Billy Kilson BK Groove
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Billy Kilson BK Groove


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""Pots & Pans" Review in All Music Guide"

POTS & PANS is a highly inspired recording from one of jazz’s greatest drummers, Billy Kilson. The award-winning drummer who performed with Dave Holland’s various ensembles for the better part of his career, leads his own BK Groove into the limelight with a daring 14-track rendition of the group’s relationships and experiences. Accompanied by bassist Kenny Davis, Michael Sim on saxophone, and George Colligan on keyboards, these seasoned vets of the music scene offer listeners a solid chance to groove to their stellar improvisations, “groovements” and emotions. The first four tracks are brief “Groovements” which set the stage for Kilson’s dynamic set. “Fuyu Hanabi” a reflection of the holiday season in Hokkaido, Japan, features Michael Sim on soprano sax. The influence of Weather Report, the Jaco years clearly comes through during the solos by Sim and Davis as they instinctly play off each other’s expressions. “Guardian Soul,” is a four-minute mallet solo that reflects Kilson’s affinity for African proverbs and a deep connection to his mother while “Indiescission” is probably the best representation of the many influences in BK Groove. This piece is a great jazz/rock fusion piece that demonstrates the versatility of the group and their ability to explode in an array of awesome rock-inspired notes and progressive jazz elements. POTS & PANS is pure, unfiltered and a great form of expression for Kilson’s many influences. - All Music Guide

"Contemporary Review of "Pots & Pans""

"Like most young drummers, Billy Kilson began his career in his mother's kitchen with her pots and pans. Billy's love for the drums began to grow as he grew. Pots and pans, twigs and sticks were used to create a beat."

What I find most intriguing about projects of this enormity is how composer, drummer, and producer Billy Kilson cleverly sidesteps any notion of commercialism on this project. Therefore, an explosion of diversity takes place by roaring cosmic rhythms from the bowels of his creative heart and soul gives the listener something fresh to wrap their head around musically and artistically.

“Pots & Pans,” is Billy Kilson’s second solo project. Ironically, Kilson has played with an assorted palette of artists including Bob James, Dave Holland and Chris Botti to name a few. With that said, if you’ve never heard music by Billy Kilson, you’re positively in for a real treat.

On the first four tracks BK describes as being “Groovements.” The opening preludes vary from 53 seconds to 1 minute and 58 seconds. Now, keep in mind these sampling may have you are reflective what the project is all about.

At the number four spot keyboardists, George Colligan tickles the Rhodes piano the selection titled “Prelude (Fuyu Hanabi) which bleeds seamlessly into a full blown version of “Fuyu Hanabi.” Soon thereafter, saxophonist Mike Sim joins him by painting strokes of radiant tonal lines and colors with his horn. The BK Groove players want be outdone here, as Kilson and bassist Kenny Davis assist their partners in groove by kickin’ in with some seriously tasty contemporary jazz fusion.

“Critics frequently lauded his performances, particularly his expertise with odd meters.”
The Phat and zesty “Rabbit Kat,” is at the next position, it accentuates the elements of the groove as the boyz in the band kick it in overdrive by laying down some funk-n-jazz with bite size venom!

At the seventh spot, Kilson and company slows down the tempo on the melodic edge with “Bibo No Aozora,” (written by Ryuichi Sakamoto) featuring George Colligan on the Rhodes once again. Around the 3:28, mark the composition swells at the bridge as saxophonist Mike Sim’s voice soars with an abundance of sheer tonal ecstasy.

While in pursuit of displaying the essentials of his creative juices, Kilson tastefully explores his kit in a solo effort with various rhythmic styles and chants from Native American to Africa to the concrete jungles of the Western hemisphere on the track called “Guardian Soul.” With each cohesive beat, Kilson’s foot-pounds relentlessly into the bass drum like and roaring inferno, his elbow collides with his thighs while crashing into cymbals with graceful motion and equilibrium. “Guardian Soul,” is symbolic of what contemporaryjazz and fusion solo records where like in the seventies.

"She taught me to have faith, be focused and anything is attainable. She is the one single person who believed in me and encouraged me. I owe any success I have to her."

Kilson’s appetite for funk laced compositions are expansive throughout this session. On the next track, titled “Aye (Forever Eternal Love)” solidifies his compassion to let his music flow with velocity and enchanting rhythms. This cut also features Kenny Davis on bass and additional keyboards; he’s joined at the hip with the provocative sonic expressions of Mr. Mike Sim’s on saxophone.

BK Groove employees’ an array of fusionist grooves on “Ji Ji,” at the nine spot. He not only plays drums, but he embarks upon the challenge of playing the keys on this piece as well. At the beginning of the track, the melody and groove seems to barrow from the vibe of rapper Biggie Smalls. The groove definitely leans in the down tempo direction. However, it’s not long before the group entrusts upon an explosive voyage of pure jazz-fusion on the track called “Leftside.” I love the way Kilson and company glides effortlessly back and forth in tempo changes and harmonic structures.

Therefore, it keeps the music vibrant, fresh, and interesting to listen too. On the next two selections, Kilson delves into the slightly dark edge of jazz-funk-fusion with “Indiescission. & Darkness Rising” Its compositions like these that makes fusion lovers brain swelter, with each pulsating beat and gelatinous chord changes drains the impurities of the soul.
“Pot's & Pans is a jazz/funk/fusion project with a special nod to drummers.” As a group, Billy Kilson’s BK Groove is unquestionably a fusion lovers delight and the final track “Nuevo “Dingwalls” expressively justifies my sometimes offbeat way of processing music. Drummer Kilson covers the whole kit, and caboodle if you will from jazz, Latin to r&b and funk textures are all wrapped into one package of high-voltage, funk-fueled, and rhythmic passages.

On “Pot & Pans,” drummist Billy Kilson soulfully expresses with grace, validity, and intellect on why it’s imperative to have a diverse palette and be a willing participant to venture beyond the norm in today’s market place to garner attention to one’s music. After the first spin, I immediately discovered how much I adored and begin to savor the use of the Rhodes piano on the compositions throughout played by George Colligan, anchored by the noble journeyman Mike Sim on saxophone and Kenny Davis’ steadfast approach on the bass guitar. Finally, Kilson’s homage to his predecessors, mentors, and influences of Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones, and Billy Cobham are indeed inspirational. Yes, Grammy winner composer, producer, and drummer Billy Kilson is the absolute real deal!

The voices behind drummer Billy Kilson ...
Billy Kilson, drums & additional keys on "Ji Ji and a Camelot"
George Colligan, keyboards
Kenny Davis, bass & additional keys on "Aye"
Mike Sim, saxophone
Visit, Billy Kilson web space: Billy Kilson's BK Groove

copyright ©2005, 2006,
website design & maintained by JMG - Contemporary

"Drummer Cafe Review of "Pots & Pans""

If you've never heard of drummer Billy Kilson before, Pot's & Pans would be an excellent baptism into the world of this elite drummer!

This CD is Billy's second solo project ... and every track showcases his creativity and musical pallette ... not only as world-class drummer, but also a composer and producer.

I personally dislike using one drummer's playing styles to describe another drummer, but if you want to get an idea of what to expect from Billy's playing, do the following. Take Tony Williams, Billy Cobham, Dennis Chambers, Lenny White and Jack DeJohnette, throw them in the skillet, bring to a boil while stirring continuously until well blended ... and you've got Billy Kilson.

The CD opens with four separate tracks are sub-titled under the main title BK calls "Groovements". I find it interesting that the length of these four tracks ranges from 53 seconds to 1 minute and 58 seconds. It's an interesting concept, especially since there's post-production playing a big role in piecing this four tracks, which almost sound like separate thoughts creatively brought together to form one idea.

The entire album has a contemporary Jazz/Funk/Fusion feel to it although this seems to be a limiting label as the overall vibe sounds much broader than those definitions typically imply. The quartets approach is creative, leaving lots of space and air ... as well as some serious chop displays by everyone ... not just Billy!

Besides having a lot wonderful grooves, beautiful compositions and tight improvisations on the entire CD, Pot's & Pans makes for some fantastic analysis by the drummer/percussionist. Track eight, "Guardian Soul" is a solo drum composition, ala Max Roach, in which Billy makes extensive use of the Swiss Army Triplet (a drum rudiment) around the drumkit. Back on track three, "Groovements: A Camelot", mid-way through the tune, the entire band plays a smooth rhythmic modulation ... where several groupings of eighth-note triplets become the new quarter-note pulse for the song; nice.

I highly recommend this album to all drummers, regardless of their personal music genre preferences. I found the entire album to be well produced and a sonic pleasure to listen to ... again, and again, and again.
- Drummer Cafe

"Jammed Online Review of "Pots & Pans""

You may not have ever heard of Billy Kilson, but you’ve probably heard him play, and you’ve definitely heard of quite a few of the jazz legends he’s toured and/or recorded with over the course of his career. This stellar side-man has a stacked resume, providing support to many top-notch artists ranging from Bill Evans to Dave Holland to Christian McBride to Mike Stern to Chick Corea. Recently he’s put together his own band to create and to explore his own musical innovations instead of helping to actualize someone else’s.

Mr. Kilson’s solo debut disc is entitled “Pots & Pans” after the instrument that he fell in love with as a child: his mother’s cooking equipment. He certainly has come quite a way from banging around the kitchen! The musicians that want him in their bands speak for themselves, and this disc of original material proves it beyond doubt. Kilson covers all the bases with this album, whether honoring the legends with “Fuyu Hanabi,” a tribute to the Jaco years of Weather Report that lives up to its billing, or testing the limits of rhythm and melody with fresh compositions such as “Indiescission.”

In addition to Kilson, George Colligan plays keys, Kenny Davis is on bass, and Mike Sim provides the brass with his saxaphonic styling. On their own they are all incredibly talented, but they come together on this album to form a full-band unit capable of creating music far beyond the sum of their parts.

This equation adds to a diverse yet expressive disc that jazz fans on the edge of their seats for new innovations will not want to skip. The album varies from straight-ahead jazz arrangements to some funk fusion and even into some moments of chaotic freeform playing, but the underlying ideas and the constant backbeat from Kilson hold it together to form a cohesive work of musical art. This effort should please just about anyone who wants to listen. Purists will be satisfied by the devotion to styles of previous jazz legends, while the younger generation will be thrilled by the fresh sounds of a band continuing to explore the path of innovation tread by those same musical icons.

Any good jazz fan knows that studio recordings are only the tip of the iceberg for artists who make their living improvising, but the looseness and feel of this disc provide solid evidence that this ensemble will be able to deliver the goods in a live setting without any difficulty. In fact, if there is a weak point to this album it is that it’s too “live” sounding. While this may be a plus for the band as a whole, and a plus for people interested in seeing Kilson live, those listening only to the record may become bored during moments better suited to a live performance than a studio album, like the extended drum solo on “Nuevo Dingwalls.”

Overall, this is an incredibly strong album that delivers the high-caliber music expected from an artist with the reputation that Kilson has. This release is a can’t-miss for fans eagerly anticipating fresh music in the tradition of the artists that founded jazz as we know it. Kilson has taken his side-man playing to a new level with this album, and hopefully will continue to use his incredible talent to keep jazz music fresh and innovative on into the 21st century.
- Jammed Online

"Jazz Improv's Review of"

BK’s Groove is a high energy, intense groove. BK’s groove is demanding…of both its listeners and its purveyors. BK is Billy Kilson: drummer, band leader, composer…pot and pan banger? On their latest release, Pots and Pans, Billy Kilson’s BK Groove proves to be an interestingly eclectic band. They play fusion, in the Chick Corea/Return to Forever style. Rhythmically influenced by rock styles, these musicians have just as much chops -- on display at every opportunity – as the most “sophisticated” jazzers. There is a freshness and unique quality to individual songs that seem like they should sound too repetitious. Fans of this style can rest assured that Billy Kilson’s BK Groove handles it with style and attitude.

Kilson himself contributes several original compositions. Pots and Pans opens with a suite of them, entitled “Groovements.” The four “groovements” are “Call,” all electric keyboards and lightning fast drums; “Premier Jour,” a bass/keys duet; “a Camelot,” the fullest and longest section, with saxophonist Mike Sim blowing over an intense groove laid down by Kilson, George Colligan on keys and bassist Kenny Davis; and “Prelude (Fuyu Hanabi),” a solo electric piano piece which serves as the introduction of the next tune – also by Kilson – of the same name (minus the “prelude”). The sax melody and feel of this tune were inspired by, as Kilson puts it in his liners “Weather Report, the Jaco years.” Everyone solos on this track save Kilson, whose accompaniments are more energetic than some drummer’s solos. “Rabbit Kat” is another tune written by the drummer. It’s a funky thing with tight band hits behind both the melody and solos.

“Bibo No Aozora” continues the disc, with its sparse and moody ballad feel. The band takes this ballad places; each solo has something a bit differ-ent about it, including moments of Latin rhythm. “Guardian Soul” gives us a glimpse of Billy Kilson the drumset soloist. Kilson plays an interesting and entertaining mallet solo. Bassist Kenny Davis then contributes a ballad, entitled “Aye (forever eternal love).” The feel is again light and moody. The pocket set up by Kilson in the opening of his tune “Leftside” – a half-time funk feel – is so deep, Kil-son decides to give it a name all its own, “Ji Ji.” The soloists are all particularly intense and “on edge” on this track.

Pots and Pans continues with “Indiescission,” an original by saxophonist Mike Sim. The ballad be-gins as a sax and bass duet and morphs into a light backbeat feel. From keyboardist Goerge Colligan comes “Darkness Rising,” with distorted timbres, endless vamps, and lots of drums. The disc ends with a bang; Kilson’s “Nuevo ‘Dingwalls’.” The vampy tune is an all out jam.

BK’s groove is one that will grab hold of you, no matter what your musical inclinations. BK’s groove is big, loud, and – more impressively – compelling. This style of music has been performed by some phenomenal musicians in the past. While the explo-ration never ends…the explorers have to make new discoveries. No one wants to see the same old fos-sils dug up. Pots and Pans explores familiar terri-tory with a fresh approach and incomparable musi-cality. Fans of fusion should definitely discover Billy Kilson’s BK Groove.
- Jazz Improv

""Pots & Pans" Review in Jazz Rock World"

Billy Kilson is one of the world’s elite drummers and his newest CD “POTS & PANS” showcases his talent with a bold and dynamic statement. Billy has many strengths and on this recording his use of dynamics and ability to lay down that mighty groove exceed expectations. He also demonstrates speed, dexterity, and a delicate touch with great listening skills by being truly in tune with the moment. While the recording mix has him clearly front and center, I found it was not a distraction since he doesn’t overplay. In fact, one of this recording’s highlights is that you can hear everything he does, thankfully! The cover art seems to indicate that Billy began playing as many drummers (including myself) by banging on the family pots and pans. While most gave it up, it’s obvious Billy kept banging and now he’s one of the very best drummers on the planet.

The BK Groove band is perfectly matched with Billy for this recording. No mistakes here and lot’s of great intuitive contributions. There are some great compositions that are played flawlessly right next to some really tight improvisations. What I especially enjoyed is that no one dominated the sessions and the group plays as one unit throughout the recording. These guys are talented, really “together”, and support each other from beginning to end.

Regarding the style of music here, the song titles give you a big clue to the combination of urban and international appeal. The overall feel is Jazz/Funk/Fusion but it also has a much wider appeal. Now, if you can figure out what that means, you’ve got something. I can’t pin down the style to one particular genre and I feel that’s one of the recording’s strong points. Most CD’s that try to have a little bit of everything usually ended up sounding like a lot of nothing. Not here, and that’s good for us fans, but hard if you’re trying to give the music a name or to put a label on it. There’s just too many ways to enjoy it or narrow down the style and pigeon hole it.

Overall, this new recording from Billy Kilson and BK Groove is a joy to listen to casually as well as scrutinize note by note. I would highly recommend it to drummers without hesitation, and to any instrumental music fans that appreciate great playing by talented musicians. I should also add that while I’m a Jazz Rock fan from it’s hey day in the late 60’s and especially early 70’s, Jazz Rockers looking for a typical shred fest will be disappointed, and that’s a good thing.


Rick Calic
Reviewer: Rick Calic
Score: ****1/2

- Jazz Rock World

"Jazz Times' Review of "Pots & Pans""

Drummer Billy Kilson’s done pretty good for himself lately. The former member of the Dave Holland Quartet finds himself on the road regularly now with nonstop touring champ Chris Botti and performing on the trumpeter’s last two best-selling albums. Kilson’s solos are almost always the highlight of Botti’s shows, and his good looks and constant charm aren’t unnoticed by those who attend a show fully prepared to gaze only upon Botti.

Kilson may not get the same crowds if he went solo, but those who’ve been energized by his live performances will find much to dig into on his newest work, his own quartet with George Colligan on keys, Kenny Davis on bass and Mike Sim on sax. But this ain’t pretty-boy jazz your grandma smiles to. After four brief preludes that Kilson calls “groovements,” the B.K. Groove launches into serious jazz fusion that could happily jump on a time machine back to the ’70s. Kilson looks to Japan for inspiration in “Fuyu Hanabi,” where the frantic playing is like the fireworks of a Japanese festival, and with “Bibo no Aozora” by Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. It’s a gorgeous piece fusing Eastern and Western styles. The best example of what’s going on here comes with “Indiescission,” a funky, dissonant piece that madly segues from fusion to rock to somewhere entirely else.
- Jazz Times

"Billy Kilson's BK Groove"

It’s as keenly cumbersome as a kid banging away on cookware, but it has the knack and dexterity of extremely competent musicians. Not to mention, the drums have a quality much cleaner and sharper than a wooden spoon on worn-out pans. Unless the child is a wunderkind and the parent’s have put aside their best utensils, pails, crocks, and kettles, don’t believe the hype. This jams with the panache of a Flower King’s off-shoot such as the brilliantly instrumental Swedish Family, Flying Food Circus, and Circus Brimstone.

Billy Kilson is the “BK” in this bunch and he provides the drums and the rhythm. To give us the groove, he assimilates his friends. That would be George Colligan on Keyboards, Kenny Davis on Bass, and Mike Sim on Sax. Kenny and Billy also provide additional keys in a number of sensitive places. Like the Borg, they’re plugged into one another and work as a collective. Don’t withstand the shiny lure. It’s only a matter of time, because resistance is useless.

Here’s an idea of the delightful ditties this groovy group dishes out:

They begin with four brief pieces. “Call,” “Premier Jour,” “Camelot,” and “Prelude” are the splinters that constitute the “Governments” suite. Each whips by quickly, working as the setup for the first full-length song. In less than two minutes, we’ve already been served a substantially alluring and substantiating appetizer.

The bass in “Fuyu Hanabi” reminds me a lot of Dave Meros’ densely speckled and liberally pickled playing in Spock’s Beards Day for Night. It’s interesting hearing this as a full-scale instrumental. Many progressive rock bands try to emulate this type of extemporary jazz in their music. Rather than a bridge, break, or segue, we get these frazzled rhythms from start to finish throughout its entire duration. As a result, this has a lot of crossover appeal. Being a progressive rock fan myself, I really like the bombastic and bubbly nature of this jazz. It hardly takes the time to stop and rolls through every sign. Then again, while pushing ahead, it’s still attentive enough to hug every turn. For something as fast and abrupt, it’s very easy to follow. It’s also packaged in a way that’s quite easy to swallow. The drums, in particular, are more than properly paced. When it’s time to shift gears, the sax takes us down to a slower speed. Once we return to the straight strips, the diligent drums spin faster and stick to the tar. The suspension is tuned, making the traversal of every pothole simple and smooth. I was quick to assume this was the highlight, but there are other pleasures to be found around the remaining bends.

We playfully wrestle around with the bunnies and kittens in “Rabbit Kat.” It is stylishly syncopated with cantankerous flair and a childlike conduct. In this one, the bass comes forward like a minivan with fuel injection. After the soccer mom drops off her cargo, these little tikes skip within the gridlines to the building blocks of hopscotch. On their return, they stop for ice cream sundaes covered in caramel, fudge, and butterscotch.

Once we’ve eased down the road, “Bibo No Aozora” is another adventure, but it’s not as drawn out as the travels of Bilbo Baggins. Neither is it as risky as an encounter with Boba Fett, the relentless bounty hunter. It’s mostly passive in its demeanor, but it’s seriously focused. If I had to tie it to a specific fictional character, I’d say it’s a wistful ride on top Aladdin’s magic carpet.

While the last set off systematically timed blasts, “Guardian Soul” is experimental and extemporaneous with concentration on the tom toms. Even though it settles mostly on percussion, it’s lost within the limbo and space of a Tangerine Dream.

“Aye,” however, is more orderly and methodical, making it uncannily similar to the prior “Bibo No Aozora”. Compensating for the missing vocal cords, the sax is the substitute for an articulate voice. This insatiable serenade thirsts with the longing intentions of a honey locust. Also, it shares many attributes with the vitreous Vangelis. This is where Kenny contributes the keys, which may explain why it exudes a slightly different flavor. When the replicants are known to be distinguished, we take a drive in the passenger seat of Rick Deckard’s futuristic cruiser.

At 24 seconds in total, “Ji Ji” is nothing more than a speck whose footprint leaves an imperceptible mark. In any case, it fully fulfills its purpose. It’s a means to cross an enormous rift created by an abundantly riff-strewn ravine. It’s a peaceful passageway, but before you can get lost in its grooves, you’ve already made it to the other side.

“Leftside” secretes converse and conflicting rhythms, making its composite material almost Avant Garde in nature. It might stock the shelves in Ned Flanders’ store, but it’s smart, witty, and in the end, it’s as right as rain. While the line items are within reach and accessible, it shares many traits with an anomalous band called Far Corner.

They expose their Indie roots in “Indiescission.” It is a wise choice for this stage of the album. It’s neither overly exuberant nor totally lacking in melody. It’s a triumphant attempt at trial and error. The bass and sax play some recognizable riffs. I felt I even heard “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” among many other familiar licks. In addition to that, many proverbial passages are on the tip of my tongue. Amidst several subdued and submissive statements, the snappy utterances from the keyboards and bass as well as the happy sax solos, give it a touchy sense of tenacity and verve.

“Darkness Rising” is the moodiest of the bunch, but by no means is it the score to a horror flick. The low lines from the bass in this film noir undercut the more optimistic elements. I found parts in its route to crisscross with those of Wasa Express.

Nearing the end, we encounter “Nuevo Dingwalls.” It’s about as nonsensical as the Wingdings font. While it may have had the doors slammed and the windows cracked, it’s smoothed over by the Ding Doctor and the experts of Auto Glass Specialists. You’d be a dingbat to think anything else could be accomplished to even it out, because the structured frame in this final cut proves to be multifarious and meticulously crafted.

If you look at the artwork, you’ll see a kid playing a four-piece set consisting of a five quart container, a soup pot, a saucepan, and a strainer. Better to not judge this book by its cover. Like I said before, this in no indication of the proficiency they present. The production is too mature and there is no clowning around in their playing for it to be anything less than the result of a very skilled quartet.

This group can jam and jingle, but they’re not mindlessly slapping sticky noodles upon the wall. They boil their mix till the pasta’s al dente, never getting too dry or excessively heated. It’s delightful and it’s never mushy, because the broth contains many essential salts, herbs, and spices. While they use many from the rack, they don’t suffocate the sauce. They use a little water from the pot and a couple caps of olive oil in the pasta. In the end, the outcome is chewy, but tasty, never soft or overcooked. It’s just right and I doubt you’ll settle on a single bowl.
- Upbeat and More: The Best in Electric Fusion

"Sounds of Timeless Jazz Review of "Pots & Pans""

POTS & PANS is a highly inspired recording from one of jazz’s greatest drummers, Billy Kilson. The award-winning drummer who performed with Dave Holland’s various ensembles for the better part of his career, leads his own BK Groove into the limelight with a daring 14-track rendition of the group’s relationships and experiences. Accompanied by bassist Kenny Davis, Michael Sim on saxophone, and George Colligan on keyboards, these seasoned vets of the music scene offer listeners a solid chance to groove to their stellar improvisations, “groovements” and emotions. The first four tracks are brief “Groovements” which set the stage for Kilson’s dynamic set. “Fuyu Hanabi” a reflection of the holiday season in Hokkaido, Japan, features Michael Sim on soprano sax. The influence of Weather Report, the Jaco years clearly comes through during the solos by Sim and Davis as they instinctly play off each other’s expressions. “Guardian Soul,” is a four-minute mallet solo that reflects Kilson’s affinity for African proverbs and a deep connection to his mother while “Indiescission” is probably the best representation of the many influences in BK Groove. This piece is a great jazz/rock fusion piece that demonstrates the versatility of the group and their ability to explode in an array of awesome rock-inspired notes and progressive jazz elements. POTS & PANS is pure, unfiltered and a great form of expression for Kilson’s many influences. Top pick: “Indiescission.” - Sounds of Timeless Jazz

"Quotes about Billy Kilson and BK Groove"

“Billy brings a combination of artistry and a jazz sensibility to my music…From the moment Billy sat behind the drums at our first rehearsal, it was like sitting in front of a rocket ship. And since he’s joined my band, my career has been a complete rocket ship ride. I give Billy a lot of credit for my success.”
--Chris Botti

"Billy Kilson & BK Groove closed the show with a set of contemporary jazz/funk: heavy on backbeat and originality. The tunes featured tight arrangements with mindbending time and style shifts, covering a wide dynamic range. While Billy is one of the genre's more physically animated drummers, when he locks down a groove, it stays locked."
--Modern Drummer

"BK Groove - they made it a festival to remember."
--Drums, Etc.

"Billy Kilson brought the house down during his extended drum solo on 'Why Not?'"
--Smooth, Berks Jazz Festival Review

“Mr. Kilson sometimes gave the impression of a volcanic force just barely contained.”
--New York Times review of a Chris Botti concert

"But the secret weapon here is drummer Billy Kilson who elevates the proceedings with an uncanny combination of precision, power and grace. He beautifully underscores the ethereal vibe on 'Bedouin Trail' with subtle use of mallets then erupts with explosive snare-tom accents in the midst of some sizzling ride cymbal-hi hat work on the urgently swinging 'Herbaceous' that mark him as the new heir to Tony Williams' chair. Kilson even offers a tonlling Cobhamesque solo on 'Ario.'"
--Jazz Times Review of Dave Holland Quintet's Points of View

"Drummer Billy Kilson was, as always, on fire."
--Jazz Views

"Kilson is simply one of the great drummers of jazz history, drawing on influences ranging from funk to hip-hop to bebop and synthesizing them in his own unique palette of rhythmic colors…. The composer's outstanding trombone solo was followed by yet another rhythmic barrage by Kilson, who effortlessly shifted tempos and created polyrhythmic clusters that defy human comprehension. It seems his biological clock is set to a different standard, and he leaves listeners baffled by his complexity."
--Berman Music Foundation

"Billy Kilson is a phenomenal drummer."

"Billy Kilson, king of the oft-spoken 'young lions of jazz,' has released his debut solo recording, and it's a beaut. 'Alarum' is an explosive minute forty-five, showcasing Billy's chops, dexterity, swing, and speed."

"Drummer Billy Kilson nearly stole the show at the end on 'Why Not.'"
--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Innovative drummer Billy Kilson dazzled."
--Smooth Jazz Now

"The key to Holland's music is the drummer…Billy Kilson effortlessly superimposes and modulates rhythms to provide counterpoint to head arrangements, solos, and Hollands own snaky, unpredictable bass…Kilson's fills and solos are white-hot pyrotechnic displays from the world of funk and fusion. As such, they provide interesting contrast to the darkly subdued, jazzy group sound."
--Jazz Weekly, Dave Holland Quintet's Not For Nothin' review

"Billy Kilson, "the engine of the Botti band," who Botti introduced as one of the most sought-after drummers on the jazz and fusion scene. Kilson delivered a solo that had the audience gasping for breath."
--South Dakota, Sioux Falls JazzFest Review

"Billy Kilson on drums stole the show constantly with his laser sharp staccato drum rhythms. Ouch. It was like stepping into another world for two hours in that intimate theatre in Spartanburg."
--Giant Steps

"Billy Kilson, who melds a jazz drummer's precision with a rocker's exuberance, drops thunderous fills on the title track -- and imparts a contagious playfulness throughout."

"Simply put, Thursday's concert was, without question, the best I've seen at the Guild. Ever. From the elastic improvisations from saxophonist David McMurray to the showmanship and chops of drummer Billy Kilson and the rock-solid grooves courtesy of bassist Al Turner, the pianist and his quartet offered so much music you didn't want to leave. The band -- and mark my words, it was a band -- also did two encores, unheard of for a Guild show. Kilson's performance was especially solid throughout."
--Post-Gazette, Bob James Trio concert review

"Billy Kilson, one of the hottest young drummers in jazz."
--Playback, Stl

"Holland and drummer Billy Kilson inject even the most obscure time signatures with irresistible élan and a deep, funky precision. Kilson is unstoppable, sending the crowd into ecstacies with furious, timestretching eruptions that somehow always end precisely where they should, while the bassist gives his usual mix of flawless timekeeping and wiry, muscular lyricism."
--BBC, Review of Dave Holland Quintet's Extended Play - Live at Birdland

"Extra kudos go to Holland's drummer, Billy Kilson, who redefined the ways that the drums can be played. The drummer was bursting with energy, élan and enthusiasm and he led the band into unimaginable rhythmic directions."
--The Vermont Review, Dave Holland concert, Festival International De Jazz De Montreal

"…drummer Billy Kilson is emerging as a major force within jazz circles."
--Best of New

"As with the other records, there is also that element of restlessness that comes from the group's excited forward energy, largely propelled by Kilson's extraordinary, smart drumming. It is rare that a percussionist submits a memorable composition in an ensemble jazz recording, but Kilson, who gave us the climactic "Wonders Never Cease" on Prime Directive, further crystallizes his own talent with the infectious 'Billows of Rhythm'."
--One Final Note, Review of Dave Holland Quintet's Not For Nothin'
- Various


Pots & Pans
While Ur Sleepin'



Billy Kilson is one of the most versatile and explosive drummers on the music scene today. His unique energetic style captivates audiences worldwide. Like many young drummers, Billy began his career in his mother’s kitchen with her pots and pans, but he did not receive his first drum set until his sixteenth birthday. Realizing he was getting a late start, he immediately went to work on developing his drum skills. "I practiced as much as 14 hours a day. That was it. There were no short cuts. I had to work around studies and other responsibilities, but I also practiced several hours daily."

Inspired by funk and R&B, he listened to artists such as Earth Wind and Fire, Parliament Funkadelic, and James Brown, as well as drum legends Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones, Billy Cobham, and jazz luminaries Count Basie and Duke Ellington. "I listened to everything. Since so much of my early playing was self-taught, I think this was the key to my diverse style." At seventeen, Billy heard a recording that featured Tony Williams. "I was mesmerized by his playing," recalls Billy. Learning that Williams studied under Berklee professor Alan Dawson, Billy enrolled in Berklee and began absorbing everything Dawson taught.

After college, Billy built an illustrious sideman career that featured tours all over the world with artists such as Walter Davis, Jr., Ahmad Jamal, Dianne Reeves, George Duke, Najee, Freddie Jackson, Bob James, Dave Holland, Hank Jones and many more. As the drummer for the Dave Holland Quintet, he brought an element of funk to the band, creating a new sound for them and helping catapult them as a premiere group in jazz. Critics frequently lauded his performances, particularly his expertise with odd meters. Billy then joined Chris Botti’s band which, opening for Sting at the time, enabled Billy to play to a more diverse audience. His studio work is as impressive as his touring experience. He has performed on over 100 recordings for artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Paula Cole, Bob James, Phillip Bailey, Chris Botti, Dave Holland and many others.

While achieving notable success as a sideman in concert and on recordings, Billy was drawn to his first love of creating and performing his own music. Influenced by the funk and fusion of his youth, Billy composed his first recording, While Ur Sleepin’. Later he assembled some of his peers to form BK Groove. They began performing and developing a new energy of their own which led them back to the studio to record Pots & Pans, a jazz/funk/fusion project.

Like Billy, the other band members had wide-ranging backgrounds and the project became a summation of their collective musical experiences. They came together as seasoned musicians, reading each other like a favorite book, anticipating the next move perfectly, stepping out to solo at the ideal moment and keeping the groove going at all times. Their music is diverse, original and inspired.