DAVID HILLYARD & THE ROCKSTEADY 7 - Way Out East: Live At the Kassablanca - CD
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Bandleader, composer and saxophonist David Hillyard has done more to advance the mix of reggae and jazz...than any number of big names in jazz who have tinkered with the Jamaican Sound” - The African Beat Tenor and soprano saxophonist, David Hillyard is one of the innovators of the American ska scene.
His group, the Rocksteady 7, mixes instrumental Jamaican “roots” rhythms ala the Skatalites, Burning Spear, and extended jazz improvisation ala David Murray, Charlie Haden, and Pharaoh Saunders. Dave has been a professional musician for over 20 years. As a 17 year old youth he played with The Donkey Show, one of California’s pioneering ska bands. He also played with Hepcat which went onto become one of the biggest ska acts of the 1990's.
He has also performed with ska groups like the Stubborn All-Stars, Skinner Box, reggae artists like Cornell Campbell, Congo ‘Ashanti’ Roy and Johnny Osbourne, jazz artists like Roy Campbell, blues artists like Simon Chardiet, soul singers like Archie Bell (“Do the Tighten Up ), and even punkrockers like Rancid. But Dave is best known for his work with the Slackers. He continues to be a key member of that organization and has appeared on their 10 cd releases and 1,000s of live gigs. With the Slackers, he currently averages about 120-150 gigs a year in the USA, Canada, Japan, Latin America, and Europe
Through his diverse experience, Dave has developed an unique style. A mix of the warm island tonalities of Roland Alphonso and Tommy McCook, the strident cries of John Coltrane, the smears of Sidney Bechet, the otherworldliness of Pharaoh Saunders, the honking blues of King Curtis, and the swing of Ben Webster, Lester Young, and Coleman Hawkins. As Jazziz magazine put it succinctly, “HILLYARD CAN PLAY ” His band, Rocksteady 7, is a shifting collective of musicians featuring some of the best players in New York City. In 2005, Dave was named best reggae/ska artist in New York City by the African Beat Magazine.