Basic Background Info

Birth: Unknown
Location: Unknown
Band: BK Groove, Dave Holland
Genres: Jazz
Instruments: Drums
Occupation: Musician



As a child, Billy Kilson first took lessons on the trumpet and the trombone before his mother relented and bought him a drum set for his sixteenth birthday. The gift was contingent upon doing well in school and Billy Kilson ultimately graduated with honors. To make up for years of lost time, Billy Kilson sometimes practiced for fourteen hours a day. Billy Kilson attended the Maryland Gifted and Talented Institute for High School Students and the Shenandoah Music Camp. Surrounded by musicians who exposed him to new sounds, Billy Kilson developed an appreciation for Tony Williams. "I felt he was the most innovative drummer I had ever heard. I was mesmerized by his playing." Billy decided to attend Berklee School of Music, where Williams's teacher, Alan Dawson, still instructed.

While studying under Dawson at Berklee, Billy Kilson married and had a daughter. However, even after Dawson taught him everything he could, Billy Kilson was reluctant to jeopardize his family's security by going out on the road hoping to make a living. Fortunately, Billy Kilson soon secured a gig touring Europe with Walter Davis Jr. This experience presented Billy opportunities working with Donald Byrd, Ahmad Jama, and Dianne Reeves. Billy Kilson played with Dianne Reeves for seven years through North America and Europe. That exposure brought Billy to play with George Duke, Najee, Freddie Jackson, and Bob James.

Billy Kilson joined the Dave Holland Quintet, brining his funk sound to the stage. The Quintet became a leader in modern jazz and earned one Grammy Award and several nominations. Billy then played with Sting and Chris Botti. Billy Kilson said, "Chris Botti is definitely the most generous bandleader that I have ever had." That is particularly complimentary given their grueling tour schedule of as many as 200 performances each year.

Billy Kilson then created his own group BK Groove, with Kenny Davis, Mike Sim, and George Colligan. Creating and performing his original music was always Billy's passion and its came to fruition with his first album, While Ur Sleepin'. Billy called this band "a musical melting pot." Each performer brought something unique to the table and collectively their music is diverse, original, and inspired.

Billy Kilson regularly offers clinics to aspiring drummers. He "love[s] to share whatever knowledge that [he] has." His advice to those young drummers: "Persevere, and practice, practice, practice!" Billy recently completed work on an instructional DVD.


Album Year Album Name Album Band
1987 Walter Beasley Walter Beasley
1988 I Remember Dianne Reeves
1990 Man-Talk for Moderns, Vol. X Greg Osby
1991 Montreaux 91 Greg Osby and Dianne Reeves
1993 Art & Survival Dianne Reeves
1993 Portrait of a Player Billy Childs
1993 Prince Jazz Blue Note Cover Series Bob Belden
1993 Simply Stated Terence Blanchard
1993 Trippin' Jean-Paul Beaurelly
1993 When the Doves Cry: The Music of Prince Bob Belden
1994 Audible Architechture Tim Hagans
1994 Gatchaman Soundtrack produced by Maurice White
1994 Ludwigs Jazztage Steps Ahead "Live"
1994 Quiet After the Storm Dianne Reeves
1994 Shades of Blue Bob Belden
1995 Acoustic Boogie Terumasa Hino & Masabumi Kikuchi Quintet
1995 Escape Bill Evans
1995 Esquire Jazz Collection: Breakthrough! Various Artists
1995 Jazzabelle Maria Muldaur
1995 Louisiana Spice Various Artists
1995 Right on Time Little Buster and the Soul Brothers
1995 The Verdict Johnny Adams
1995 Verdict Johnny Adams
1996 All Things In Time Bill Meyers
1996 Hip Strut Bop City
1996 Joined at the Hip Bob James & Kirk Whalum
1996 MOMENT, Hino-Kikuchi Live Teremasa Hino, Pooh Kikuchi
1996 Shades of Red Blue Note Records
1996 Strawberry Fields Bob Belden
1997 Celebration of Blues: The Great Singers, Vol. 2 Various Artists
1997 Hot Jazz Biscuits Various Artists
1997 Jazz X-Mas Party Friends Various Artists
1997 Playin' Hooky Bob James
1997 Sound Roots Andy McKee
1997 Tapestry Bob Belden
1997 Warner Bros. Jazz Christmas Party Various Artists
1997 Yule Be Boppin' Various Artists
1998 Best of Smooth Jazz, Vol. 3 Various Artists
1998 Blue Box, Vol. 2: Finest Jazz Vocalists Various Artists
1998 Blues Joint Various Artists
1998 My Romance Kevin Mahogany
1998 One on One, Best of Smooth Jazz, Vol.3 Warner Brothers Records
1998 Points of View Dave Holland Quintet
1998 Re-cover Terumasa Hino
1999 Afro Blue Various Artists
1999 Animation - Imagination Tim Hagans
1999 Art of Ballad: Best of Mapleshade Various Artists
1999 Blue Note Years, Vol. 7: Blue Note Now & Then Various Artists
1999 It's All About Love Carla Cook
1999 Joy Ride Bob James
1999 Live at Birdland: Cookin' at Midtown Various Artists
1999 R 'N' Browne Tom Browne
1999 Re-Animation: Live in Montreal Tim Hagans & Bob Belden
2000 Casino Lights '99 Various Artists
2000 From Belo to Seoul Jack Lee
2000 Portrait of Kevin Mahogany Kevin Mahogany
2000 Prime Directive Dave Holland Quintet
2001 At This Point in My Life Donald Brown
2001 Black Dahlia Bob Belden
2001 Crossing the Bridge New York Connexion
2001 Deep Into It Larry Carlton
2001 Dem Bones Carla Cook
2001 Disney Meets Jazz Gil Goldstein & Friends
2001 Get 2 It Robin Eubanks & Mental Images
2001 Max Jazz Holiday Various Artists
2001 Not for Nothin' Dave Holland Quintet
2001 Restoration: The Best of Bob James Bob James
2001 Telarc Sampler Various Artists
2001 While Ur Sleepin' BK Groove
2002 Best of Dianne Reeves Dianne Reeves
2002 French Kiss Donald Brown
2002 Mean What You Say Bill Mobley
2002 Simply Natural Carla Cook
2002 Soul on Jazz Philip Bailey
2002 State of Soul Joe Locke
2002 Tom Browne Collection Tom Browne
2002 What Goes Around Dave Holland Big Band
2003 Autumn in New York Donald Brown
2003 Box of the Blues Various Artists
2003 Extended Play: Live at Birdland Dave Holland Quintet
2003 Heads Up Sampler Various Artists
2003 It's About Time Charles Blenzig
2003 Moods Monday Michiru
2003 Rhythm and Soul Lonnie Plaxico
2003 Soulful Song Steve Wilson
2003 Treats for the Nightwalker Josh Roseman Unit
2003 Wings to Walk This Road John Stoddart
2004 Act One Continuum
2004 All We Need Antonio Hart
2004 Blue Note Plays the Beatles Various Artists
2004 Deep End Spyro Gyra
2004 Homage James Moody
2004 Montreal Jazz Festival, Vol. 1: Very Best Live Various Artists
2004 Nonsequence Mike Gibbs
2004 Portrait of Bill Evans Various Artists
2004 Rarum, Vol. 10: Selected Recordings Dave Holland
2004 Sapphire Blue Larry Carlton
2004 Take It from the Top Bob James Trio
2004 Time Works for Dreamers Various Artists
2004 Watching the Snow Michael Franks
2004 When I Fall in Love Chris Botti
2005 Home Shunzo Ohno
2005 Jazz Improv Companion CD, Vol. 6 No. 2: Red Various Artists
2005 Overtime Dave Holland
2005 Remember Their Innocence Onaje Allan Gumbs
2005 Telarc & Heads Up Sampler 5 Various Artists
2005 To Love Again: The Duets Chris Botti
2006 Jazz Improv Companion CD, Vol. 7 No. 1: Blue Various Artists
2006 Live: With Orchestra and Special Guests Chris Botti
2006 Pots & Pans Billy Kilson
2007 Italia Chris Botti
2007 Courage Paula Cole
2008 Christmas Eyes Bob James & Hillary James
2008 Yo Yo Ma and Friends: Songs of Peace and Joy Yo Yo Ma
2009 Chris Botti in Boston Chris Botti
2009 Blue Minor Hank Jones & the Great Jazz Trio
2010 Lady Lynn Fiddmont
2010 Take Your Pick Larry Carlton & Tak Matsumoto
2011 Rhythm Dancer Billy Kilson


  • "My mother is my hero, without her, I wouldn't be able to stand."

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Drum Workshop
Cymbals: Sabian
Hardware: Drum Worskhop
Sticks: Vater

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