The name James Gilyard is attached to many things related to jazz — bassist, composer, producer and lecturer. His early music career included three years in the Army Field Artillery Band. Sought after for his solid and sensitive accompaniment, he has performed with artists such as Kenny Burrell, James Clay, Red Garland, Carla Cook, David “Fathead” Newman, Roy Hargrove, Melvin Sparks, Melba Moore, and Roseanne Vitro to name a few. Voted Sammons Jazz Artist of the Year in 1998, the Oklahoma native would serve as the artistic director of Sammons Jazz from 1999 to 2011, creating many innovative programs such as the Sammons Jazz Youth Program. Sharing his talent in other ways, he formed the Generativity cooperative to produce recordings and channel proceeds into projects for other artists, benefiting more than 20 artists to date.