Keyboardist Brian Simpson says, “JD is one of the top jazz/R&B bassists on the scene today… I can always depend on his great sound and musicianship.” Guitarist Matt Marshak says, ”John’s bass playing has been an integral part of my recordings and live shows. He brings an intelligent and deep musical perspective.Calvin Napper, drummer for MAZE featuring Frankie Beverly, describes him as "…gifted and talented…". 2 time Grammy Award winning producer Cedric Thompson labels him as "…phenomenal…an asset…my GO TO guy…". Saxophonist Mike Phillips adds "…one of the funkiest bassists that I've played with…".
Born and raised in Rochester, NY, John was surrounded by music that helped shape his particular style of playing. John credits his early influences to his father. John’s musical journey started when he was eight years old. John gives credit to other heavy influences aside from family members such as Jaco Pastorius, Marcus Miller, Dave Holland, Ron Carter, John Patitucci, Nathan East, Fred Hammond, and Joel Smith. They drove his growth, resulting in a deeper love and dedication to the art of being a bassist. When asked about his greatest influences, John’s response is always: “Too many to name and enough to keep me humble and always practicing.”
Whether John is playing electric, acoustic (upright) bass, or key bass, John can be found holding the groove on local stages in Charlotte, NC, his hometown, or performing on main stages across the country with national recording artists. In his career thus far, he has worked with gospel artist Lejuene Thompson,John P Kee, Daryl Coley, Monique Walker, and Vanessa Bell Armstrong. His RnB credits include, musical director for Grammy Award-winning singer and actress Stephanie Mills, Tamia, Deborah Cox and Queen Latifah. His Smooth/Contemporary jazz credits include artists Brian Simpson, Matt Marshak, Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole, Walter Beasley, Nick Colionne, Marc Antoine, MAYSA, Peter White and Four80East. Additionally, John has earned Grammy certifications for his performances on EMI gospel projects “Oh Happy Day,” an All-Star Celebration (Best Traditional Gospel Album) and Heather Headley’s “Audience of One” (Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album.) They were both won at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards.
June 2015, John released his debut solo cd title “Let’s Ride” featuring smooth jazz artist that include Marc Antoine, Matt Marshak, Marcus Anderson, Art Sherrod, Jr and Lin Rountree. Let’s Ride has already been well received great accolades and continues moving forward within the genre of Smooth Jazz. “Let’s Ride”, delivers an auditory experience that finds its way down in your soul and moves every part of you.
John’s affiliation with such admired and respected artists is a true testament to his motto: "VERSATILITY, DEDICATION, EXCELLENCE and Groove = THE TOTAL BASSIST”.
Electronic press kit
INTERVIEWS - LIVE
John Dillard's "Let's Ride" is solid like a rock. His album is enriched with a great sweep of musicians, so no boredom comes up, even if he uses his bass often as a leader. The professionalism of all is also consistently stellar. -
THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE
There’s a ton of appeal in this well-produced album. At a time when many c-jazzers are bemoaning the “same ol, same ol” sound that is unfortunately becoming more and more prevalent, Dillard offers a breath of fresh air sure to contribute to the life of the genre.Obviously taking his time and allowing his creative juices to simmer just long enough before releasing this project, Dillard has afforded himself the best opportunity to join the heavyweights who strive tirelessly to take this genre to even higher ground. Wonderful debut. - Ronald Jackson