Justin Dillard was born and raised on the west side of Chicago into a rich thriving musical home. Residing in Oak Park these days, Justin’s resume has accumulated an impressive amount of names in such a short amount of time his career has been active.
He has had the honorable privilege to perform with and/or receive tutelage from McCoy Tyner, Hamid Drake, Eric Lewis, Roy Hargrove, Branford Marsalis, Ornette Coleman, Wynton Marsalis, Willie Clayton, Don Moye’, Herbie Hancock, Henry Grimes, Clark Terry and Ellis Marsalis. Justin has had the esteemed pleasure to work in conjunction with, record, and/or study from prominent world-renowned resident musicians in and around the Chicago area, such as: Von Freeman, Bobby Irving III, Roscoe Mitchell, Ari Brown, Orbert Davis, Hamiet Bluiett, Maggie Brown, Erma Thompson, Fred Anderson, Bill Dickens, the AACM Big Band, Billy Bang, Nicole Mitchell, Kahil El’Zabar, Billy Brimfield, and Ernest Dawkins.
His media accolades include features in various periodicals including: The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Reader, and The Chicago Sun-Times. Performing at countless jazz festivals nationally and abroad Justin is no stranger to working hard to achieve success. He has performed on ABC with his organ expose’ The D-O-3-0; WGN and in a documentary produced by George Lucas Studios with The Kahil El’Zabar Quartet.
Justin has played in every musical environment possible. His ventures in various genres span from avant-garde to a Dave Matthews tribute band. His improvisational and compositional roots deep in jazz, world, old school r&b, country, latin, blues, and groove based music. Justin continues to advance his ambitions and transform his career by leading, orchestrating and creatively composing for his vast array of ensembles; all while accompanying great musicians in Chicago and around the world. His latest exploration (The D-O-3-O) has Justin looking to the Hammond B-3 organ for old git down grooves and swing with a present day sensibility. His musical repertoire for this group spans 70 years. “It’s something for everyone. Even those who know they won’t like it. But they end up liking it anyway.” – Justin Dillard
Composing now more than ever, Justin intends to complete his album with The D-O-3-O and tour in the extreme near future. “A new generation of jazz improvisers has emerged in Chicago in recent years, but few are more promising than pianist/organist Justin Dillard. Musically, Dillard tends to be all over the keyboard, drawing upon the examples of virtuosos such as Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Oscar Peterson and McCoy Tyner. But there’s something more to Dillard’s work as well — a quest for new ideas in music, in the manner of his AACM mentors” – Howard Reich/Tribune arts critic. Stay tuned.