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David Hillyard and the Rocksteady 7

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David Hillyard and The Rocksteady 7 are a Ska band formed in 1998 by Tenor Saxophonist Dave Hillyard. The musical collective draws up a pool of the finest ska and reggae musicians in New York and beyond.

Through his diverse experience, Dave has developed an unique style, which is reflected in the music and composition of the Rocksteady 7. 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. They have experience playing with everyone from Sting to the Skatalites. Senior among them is veteran percussionist, Larry McDonald. Larry began his career back at the inception of ska music with Carlos Malcolm’s Afro Jamaicans. He went on to perform on several classic reggae tracks such as Cherry Oh Baby, Funky Kingston, and Rivers of Babylon. Then he left Jamaica and played long stints with Taj Mahal and Gil Scott-Heron.

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