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June 2006

Billy Kilson's B.K. Groove
Pots & Pans
Arintha Star

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.

Originally published in June 2006
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