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Billy Drummond

About the Artist

"One of the most crisp, popping, and sensitive drummers around," says Modern Drummer magazine.

"His capacity to spur on each soloist and add color to the ensemble is without equal," says the New York Jazz Record (formerly AllAboutJazz-New York). Critically-acclaimed drummer, educator and band leader Billy Drummond is, to quote Downbeat magazine: "one of the most called for players of his generation" who has performed and recorded with the world's greatest jazz artists, including Joe Henderson, Horace Silver, Sonny Rollins, J. J. Johnson, Nat Adderley, Bobby Hutcherson, Chris Potter, Joe Lovano, Buster Williams, Eddie Gomez, Lee Konitz, James Moody, Tony Malaby, Andrew Hill, Freddie Hubbard, Marty Ehrlich, Charles Tolliver, Sheila Jordan, Toots Thielemans, Jon Faddis, Walt Weiskopf, Charles Tolliver, Javon Jackson, Hank Jones, Vincent Herring, David Hazeltine, Joe Locke, Eddie Henderson, Larry Willis, and Archie Shepp, among many others. He is also part of the Grammy-nominated Carla Bley Big Band, and a long-time member of Carla Bley and the Lost Chords, as well as the Steve Kuhn Trio.

Drummond took up drums at age four, was playing in bands from age eight, and was already teaching adults at age 14, employed by his drum teacher, before going on to study at Shenandoah Conservatory. His father, who was also a drummer, and whose record collection included many of the classic recordings of Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Buddy Rich and Elvin Jones, was a major early influence. Later influences include Tony Williams, Billy Higgins, Philly Joe Jones, Jack DeJohnette, Billy Hart, and Al Foster. It was at Foster's behest, in 1986, that Drummond moved to New York, where he almost immediately joined the young band, "Out of the Blue" (OTB), with whom he recorded for Blue Note Records, before being invited to join piano master Horace Silver's Sextet, touring extensively with him, and, later, J.J. Johnson and Sonny Rollins, with whom he toured for three years.

Characterized by "seriousness ... depth of thought ... and the kind of highly refined intelligence that Max Roach introduced to drumming" [Stanley Crouch], Drummond, "a powerful and highly musical drummer" [AllAboutJazz], in addition to being one of the most sought-after sidemen, who has recorded well over 250 CDs in all genres of jazz, is "one of the hippest band leaders now at work." [Downbeat] He has made several critically acclaimed CDs - six as a co-leader and three as a leader, including Dubai, which was voted Number 1 on the Top 10 Best of 1996 by the New York Times, who praised his "fertile, exciting music ... textural changes and charged improvisation." Juggling a busy touring and recording schedule, Drummond currently leads the New York-based band Freedom of Ideas and is also Professor of Jazz Drums at the Juilliard School of Music and NYU in New York.


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