Shelton Kilby

Born in Washington, D.C, pianist Shelton Kilby studied music at Howard University, Columbia Union College, and abroad in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, before relocating to Los Angeles in the early ‘70s to continue his studies in composition and orchestration at City College. Following a Shelton Kilby & Counterpoint 45 on Beegee in ’73, Spears brought Kilby, bassist Rob Brown, drummer Ralph Johnson, and guitarist Al McKay into Hollywood’s Bullet Recording Studio to cut a mix of traditional and original gospel songs. Their slung-back Rhodes-funk reading of “Poor Wayfaring Stranger” is almost unrecognizable as a 19th-century spiritual, save for Myrna Matthews’ repetitive singing of the title over the song’s final minute. Kilby wouldn’t make it to the James Bullard era of Birthright, leaving in 1975 to arrange for the Breath Of Life television ministry. Multitudes of collaborations have dotted the decades since, with Kilby’s delicate touch heard on countless secular and praiseful recordings.

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