Billy Hart

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For other uses, see William Hart.
Billy Hart
Billy Hart.jpg
Hart performing in 1978
Background information
Born (1940-11-29) 29 November 1940 (age 76)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Genres Jazz, jazz fusion
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums
Labels Horizon, Gramavision, Arabesque, HighNote, Enja, SteepleChase, ECM
Associated acts Herbie Hancock, The Cookers

William "Billy" Hart (born November 29, 1940) is an American jazz drummer and educator who has performed with some of the most notable jazz musicians in history.


Hart was born in Washington, D.C., where early on in his career he performed with soul artists such as Otis Redding and Sam and Dave, and then later with Buck Hill and Shirley Horn, and was a sideman with the Montgomery Brothers (1961), Jimmy Smith (1964–1966), and Wes Montgomery (1966–68). Following Montgomery’s death in 1968, Hart moved to New York, where he recorded with McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, and Joe Zawinul, and played with Eddie Harris, Pharoah Sanders, and Marian McPartland.

Hart was a member of Herbie Hancock's sextet (1969–73), and played with McCoy Tyner (1973–74), Stan Getz (1974–77), and Quest (1980s), in addition to extensive freelance playing (including recording with Miles Davis on 1972's On the Corner).

At the age of 70, Billy Hart works steadily and teaches widely.[citation needed] Since the early 1990s he spends considerable time at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and is adjunct faculty at the New England Conservatory of Music and Western Michigan University. He also conducts private lessons through the New School and New York University. Hart often contributes to the Stokes Forest Music Camp and the Dworp Summer Jazz Clinic in Belgium.

He leads a group with Mark Turner, Ethan Iverson, and Ben Street. He is also featured in a trio led by pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, another led by guitarist Assaf Kehati, and an all-star band, the Cookers, with Billy Harper, Eddie Henderson, David Weiss, Craig Handy, George Cables and Cecil McBee, who have toured extensively and recorded two CDs.[citation needed]

Hart resides in Montclair, New Jersey.[1]


Billy Hart at Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society, Half Moon Bay, California

As leader[edit]


Billy Hart (right), Johnny Alegre (center), and bassist Ron McClure (left), recording Johnny Alegre 3 in New York City

With Quest

  • II (Storyville, 1987)
  • Midpoint – Quest III Live at the Montmartre Copenhagen Denmark (Storyville, 1987)
  • N.Y. Nites – Standards (PAN Music, 1988)
  • Natural Selection (Pathfinder/Core, 1988)
  • Of One Mind (CMP, 1990)
  • Re-Dial (Live in Hamburg) (Outnote, 2007)
  • Circular Dreaming (Enja, 2011)

As sideman[edit]

With Pepper Adams

With Kenny Barron

With Walter Bishop Jr.

With Paul Bley

With Hamiet Bluiett

With Joanne Brackeen

With George Cables

With Catalyst

  • Perception (Muse, 1973)
  • Unity (Muse, 1974)

With Stanley Cowell

  • Setup (SteepleChase, 1994)

With Miles Davis

With Richard Davis

With Dave Douglas

With Charles Earland

With Yelena Eckemoff

With Teddy Edwards

With Sonny Fortune

  • Awakening (Horizon, 1975)
  • It Ain't What It Was (Konnex, 1992)

With Chico Freeman

With Hal Galper

With Stan Getz

With Dick Griffin

  • Now Is the Time (Trident, 1979)
  • The Eighth Wonder & More (Konnex, 1994)

With Herbie Hancock

With Billy Harper

With Eddie Harris

With Eddie Henderson

With The Jazztet

With Duke Jordan

With Jimmy Knepper

With Lee Konitz

with Harold Land

With Andy LaVerne

With Azar Lawrence

With Charles Lloyd

With Joe Lovano

With Pat Martino

With Bennie Maupin

With Cecil McBee

With Mingus Dynasty

  • Live at Montreux (Atlantic, 1980)
  • Live at the Theatre Boulogne-Billancourt Paris (Soul Note, 1989)

With Wes Montgomery

  • Live at Jorgies Jazz Club (VGM, 1961, issued later)
  • Live at Jorgies Jazz Club and More (VGM, 1961, 1968, issued later)

With James Mtume

  • Mtume Umoja Ensemble – Alkebu-Lan – Land of the Blacks (Live at The East) (Strata-East, 1972)
  • Rebirth Cycle (Third Street, 1974, issued in 1977)

With Tisziji Munoz

  • Heart Trance Revelation (Anami, 2014)

With James Newton

With Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen

  • Trio 1 (SteepleChase, 1978)
  • Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen Quartet – Dancing on the Tables (SteepleChase, 1979)

With Hannibal Marvin Peterson

  • Hannibal Marvin Peterson, The Sunrise Orchestra – Children of the Fire (Sunrise, 1974)
  • Naima (Eastworld, 1978)

With Doug Raney

With Pharoah Sanders

With Iñaki Sandoval

  • Miracielos (Bebyne, 2011)

With Wayne Shorter

With Jimmy Smith

With Idrees Sulieman

With Charles Sullivan

With Horace Tapscott

With Buddy Terry

With McCoy Tyner

With Tom Varner

With Buster Williams

With others


  1. ^ "The State of Jazz: Meet 40 More Jersey Greats", The Star-Ledger, September 28, 2004.
  2. ^ Chinen, Nate (5 May 2015). "Review: John Raymond, Uncovering the Possibilities of the Familiar". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 August 2015. 

External links[edit]