Joel Dilley

10th Annual Jazz Song Nominee

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Record Label: Dragon Lady Records

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Home Base: San Antonio, TX, USA

Genre: World Jazz

Categories Entered: Jazz Album, Jazz Song

Works Submitted: A New World; Jazz Song: “The Hammock”; “Street of the Seven Angels”; “Song for Derek”; “Luz de la Luna”

Artists Featured: Joël Dilley (Acoustic Bass), Bett Butler (Vocals, Piano), Jonathan Raveneau (Violin, Vocals, Cajon), tbow Gonzales (Percussion), Jartse Tuominen (Acoustic Guitar)

Label: Dragon Lady Records


Influences: John Coltrane, Chick Corea, François Rabbath, Miroslav Vitous, Scott LaFaro, Charles Mingus, John Pattitucci, Yo-Yo Ma, and folk artists from all over the world.

Describe your nominated work: “Luz de la Luna” (“Light from the Moon”) is a musical convergence of east and west.
It’s the same moon everywhere….

Why did you choose to submit this work to The 10th IMA’s?: It’s an audience favorite. Every time we play it, people always ask for the CD that has this particular song on it.

Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording? The goal was to transcend our instruments, to enable listeners to forget they’re listening to a bass or a violin or a guitar or percussion or a singer and instead just hear individual voices telling their side of the story. The musicians on this project regularly push their instruments beyond the usual techniques to explore sonic colors and emotional textures. I also used subtle electronic effects and delays in the mix to create space and depth.

Were there any happy accidents while in the studio or did everything go as planned? There was a constant stream of happy accidents. That’s what we want. As a producer, I want the individual musicians to feel comfortable enough to improvise freely. As a composer, I want to hear their version of the musical story.

Did fans help fund this project? Yes, both directly and indirectly. Every time someone buys our music, they’re helping fund future projects. We have supporters who buy multiple copies of every one of our CDs as soon as they’re released and gift them to friends. Plus, with A NEW WORLD, we had a couple of super fans who gave us a grant to cover a percentage of manufacturing costs. What a wonderful gift; we were so grateful to them.

Who is sitting in your audience? Someone I least expect. I’m always surprised at the people who respond to this music. So often, they’re not at all what you think you’d find in the typical jazz audience. But come to think of it, I guess that pretty well describes the typical jazz audience….

What makes your fans unique?: They’re thoughtful. They have a lot of imagination; they hear their own stories in the music.

Are there any songs you wish you wrote? “Stardust,” & “When You Wish Upon a Star”

What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans? Yo-Yo Ma, Ravel, Bach, Smetana.

What is your dream show lineup? The musicians with whom we work.

What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Playing ANGRY BIRDS on my iPhone.

Any close calls or mishaps while on tour? Nothing tops the 24-hour train ride through Siberia in sub-zero weather, with the train stopping at random….for long periods of time….

Do you have any rituals before you go on stage? Green Tea

Should music be free? No.

How has digital affected your career? It’s allowed me opportunities for licensing and audience growth that I never would have had before without living in New York or LA.

Are digital singles vs. full albums the future of music? I don’t know. I hope not. I would hope to attract longer attention spans than that. I like exploring the possibilities inherent in grouping songs together.

Finish this sentence: The music industry is… a work in progress.