Billy Drummond

Willis Robert "Billy" Drummond Jr. (born June 19, 1959) is an American jazz drummer.

Billy Drummond
Billy Drummond in 2008
Background information
Birth nameWillis Robert Drummond Jr.
Born (1959-06-15) June 15, 1959
Newport News, Virginia, U.S.
Years active1980s–present
LabelsCriss Cross, SteepleChase
Associated actsCarla Bley, Shelia Jordan, Steve Kuhn, Sonny Rollins, Horace Silver

Early life

Billy Drummond was born in Newport News, West Virginia, where he grew up listening to the extensive jazz record collection of his father, an amateur drummer and jazz enthusiast. He started playing the drums at four and was performing locally in his own band by the age of eight, and playing music with other kids in the neighborhood, including childhood friends, Roy Wooten, Reggie Wooten and Victor Wooten,[1] who lived a few doors away and through whom he met Consuela Lee Moorehead, composer, arranger, music theory professor, and the founder of the Springtree/Snow Hill Institute for the Performing Arts. He attended Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music on a Classical Percussion scholarship and, upon leaving school, became a member of a local Top 40 band called The Squares with bass phenom Oteil Burbridge.[2]


In 1986, encouraged by Al Foster, who had invited him to sit in at the Village Vanguard and advised him to take the next step, he moved to New York and almost immediately joined the band, Out of the Blue, with whom he recorded their last album, Spiral Staircase (Blue Note Records). A year later, he joined the Horace Silver sextet, touring extensively with him before becoming a member of Sonny Rollins's band, with whom he toured for three years. During this period he also formed long-term musical associations with Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Buster Williams, James Moody, JJ Johnson, Andrew Hill, and others.

He has made three albums as bandleader, including his Criss Cross album Dubai (featuring Chris Potter, Walt Weiskopf and Peter Washington), which included in the list of “50 Crucial Jazz Drumming Recordings of the Past 100 Years” by Modern Drummer magazine.[3] He has made five albums as a co-leader, including We’ll Be Together Again with Javon Jackson and Ron Carter. He leads a New York-based band called Freedom of Ideas. In addition to touring he is Professor of Jazz Drums at the Juilliard School and New York University.

A sideman on over 350 records, Drummond has played and recorded with, among others, Bobby Hutcherson, Nat Adderley, Ralph Moore (1989 and subsequently), Buster Williams (1990–93), Charles Tolliver (1991), Lew Tabackin and Toshiko Akiyoshi, Hank Jones (1991), James Moody (early 1990s), Sonny Rollins, Andy LaVerne (1994), Lee Konitz (1995), Dave Stryker (1996), George Colligan (1997), Ted Rosenthal, Bruce Barth, Joe Lovano, Andrew Hill (from 1997–2000), Larry Willis (2006 to the present), Toots Thielmans, Freddie Hubbard (mid-1990s), Chris Potter, Eddie Gómez, Stanley Cowell, Javon Jackson, and Sheila Jordan (1990s to present). He is a long-time member of Carla Bley's Lost Chords Quartet, Sheila Jordan's Quartet, and the Steve Kuhn Trio.

Previously married to pianist Renee Rosnes, Drummond has been a resident of West Orange, New Jersey.[4]


As leader

As co-leader

  • 2003 Pas de Trois The Drummonds
  • 2006 Mysterious Shorter Nicholas Payton/Bob Belden/Sam Yahel/Billy Drummond/John Hart
  • 2006 Once Upon a Time The Drummonds
  • 2006 Letter to Evans The Drummonds
  • 2006 Beautiful Friendship The Drummonds
  • 2016 Three's Company Ron Carter/Javon Jackson/Billy Drummond

With OTB

With Nat Adderley

With Carla Bley

With Steve Kuhn

  • 1997 Dedication (Reservoir)
  • 1998 Countdown (Reservoir)
  • 2000 The Best Things (Reservoir)
  • 2001 Temptation
  • 2002 Waltz – Red Side
  • 2002 Waltz – Blue Side
  • 2004 Easy to Love
  • 2007 Pastorale
  • 2007 Baubles, Bangles and Beads
  • 2007 Pavanne for a Dead Princess
  • 2010 I Will Wait for You

As sideman

  • Old Country (1990) with Nat Adderley
  • Sam I Am (1990) with Sam Newsome
  • In New York (1990) with Tomas Franck
  • For the Moment (1990 with Renee Rosnes
  • Mirage (1991) with Bobby Hutcherson
  • Hornucopia (1991) with Jon Faddis
  • John Swana and Friends (1991) with John Swana
  • Mirage (1991) with Bobby Hutcherson
  • Better Times (1992) with Rob Bargad
  • The Charmer (1992) with Charles Fambrough
  • Epistrophy (1992) with Bill Pierce
  • Simplicity (1992) with Walt Weiskopf
  • Without Words (1992) with Renee Rosnes
  • Dawnbird (1993) with Vincent Herring
  • Secret Love (1993) with Vincent Herring
  • Blue Note Years (1993) with Joe Henderson
  • Feeling's Mutual (1993) with John Swana
  • Scheme of Things (1993) with Scott Wendholt
  • In from the Cold (1994, Criss Cross) with Jonny King
  • Days of Wine and Roses (1994) with Vincent Herring
  • Dearly Beloved (SteepleChase, 1996) with Lee Konitz
  • Notes from the Underground (1996, Enja) with Jonny King
  • Bluesology with George Cables (SteepleChase, 1997)
  • Out of Nowhere with Lee Konitz and Paul Bley (SteepleChase, 1997)
  • RichLee! with Lee Konitz and Rich Perry (SteepleChase, 1997)
  • Light Breeze with Franco Ambrosetti (Enja, 1998)
  • True Blue (1998) with Archie Shepp
  • Vertigo (1998) with Chris Potter
  • Universal Spirits (1998) with Tim Ries
  • Dusk (1999) with Andrew Hill
  • Duke's Place (1999) with George Mraz
  • Art & Soul (Blue Note, 1999) with Renee Rosnes
  • Everything I Need (1999) with Carol Fredette
  • Out of the Dark (1999) with Andy Fusco
  • Pleasant Valley (1999) with Javon Jackson
  • Reemergence (1999) with Eddie Henderson
  • Remembrance (1999) with Sadao Watanabe
  • Rendezvous (1999) with Jerome Harris
  • Search (1999) with Joel Weiskopf
  • Sound of Love (1999) with Tommy Smith
  • Navigator (2000) with Joel Frahm
  • Ask Me Now (2000) with Michael Urbaniak
  • Siren (2000) with Walt Weiskopf
  • Steal the Moon (2000) with Carolyn Leonhart
  • Two Tenor Ballads (2000) with Mark Turner and Tad Shull
  • What Goes Unsaid (2000) with Scott Wendholt
  • This Will Be (2001) with Chris Potter
  • Oasis (2001) with Eddie Henderson
  • Song (2001) with Marty Ehrlich
  • Workin' Out (2001) with John Campbell
  • Cedars of Avalon (2001) with Larry Coryell
  • Alternate Side (2001) with Tim Ries
  • With a Little Help from My Friends (2001) with Renee Rosnes
  • Deja Vu (2001) with Archie Shepp
  • Waltz for Debbie (2002) with David Hazeltine
  • Wurd on the Skreet (2002) with Donald Brown
  • Life on Earth (2003) with Renee Rosnes
  • Line on Love (2003) with Marty Ehrlich
  • Little Song (2003) with Sheila Jordan
  • Strings (2003) with Jim Snidero
  • French Ballads (2003) with Archie Shepp
  • Deja Vu (2003) with Archie Shepp
  • The Lost Chords (2003) with Carla Bley
  • Dream Dancing (2004) with Steve Kuhn
  • Close Up (2004) with Jim Snidero
  • Tea for Two (2004) with Walt Weiskopf/Andy Fusco Quartet
  • Sight to Sound (2004) with Walt Weiskopf
  • Winter Sonata (2004) with Gary Versace
  • Cleopatra's Dream (2006) David Hazeltine
  • Manhattan (2006) David Hazeltine/George Mraz Trio
  • Pastorale (2007) with Steve Kuhn
  • Baubles, Bangles and Beads (2007) with Steve Kuhn
  • Pavanne for a Dead Princess (2007) with Steve Kuhn
  • The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu (2007) with Carla Bley
  • New Conversations (2007) with Carla Bley
  • Blue Fable (2007) with Larry Willis
  • Nights of Key Largo (2008) with Tessa Souter
  • Moon River (2008) with Nicki Parrott
  • The Offering (HighNote, 2008) with Larry Willis
  • Once Upon a Melody (2008) with Javon Jackson
  • Beautiful Love: The NYC Session (2008) with Al Di Meola, Eddie Gómez, Yujata Kobaya
  • Appearing Nightly (2008) with Carla Bley
  • Art of Organizing (2009) with Dr. Lonnie Smith
  • Chick Corea Songbook (2009) with The Manhattan Transfer
  • Mutual Admiration Society (2009) with Joe Locke/David Hazeltine
  • New Moon (2009) with Ron McLure
  • Mays at the Movies (2009) with Bill Mays
  • Crossfire (2009) with Jim Snidero
  • One Night at the Kitano (2009) with Jed Levy
  • Fly Me to the Moon (2009) with Nicki Parrott
  • Mays at the Movies (2009) with Bill Mays
  • The Decider (2009) with Peter Zak
  • All My Friends are Here (2010) with Arif Mardin compilation
  • I Will Wait for You (2010) with Steve Kuhn
  • Invitation (2010) with Beat Kaestli
  • Cedar Chest (2010) The Music of Cedar Walton compilation
  • For All We Know (2010) with Eddie Henderson
  • New York Encounter (2010) with Yakov Okun Trio
  • Steeplechase Jam Session Volume 29 (2010) Andy Laverne
  • Steeplechase Jam Session Volume 30 (2010) Don Braden
  • Dedication (2010) with Ron McClure
  • Live at Smalls (2011) with Tim Ries
  • Live at Smalls (2011) with Jesse Davis
  • Beyond the Blue (2012) with Tessa Souter
  • Home Tone (2012) with Tony Lakatos
  • Nordic Noon (2012) with Peter Zak
  • Jazz in the New Harmonic (2013) with David Chesky
  • The Eternal Triangle (2013) with Peter Zak
  • Homeland (2014) with Vincent Hsu
  • Are You Real (2014) with Stanley Cowell
  • Leap of Faith (2015) with Burak Bedikyan
  • Primal Scream (2015) with David Chesky
  • Rambling Confessions (2015) with John Hebert
  • Sing to the Sky (2015) with Emma Larsson
  • Tales, Musings, and Other Reveries (2015) with Jeremy Pelt
  • Reminiscent (2015) with ppStanley Cowell]]
  • Standards (2016) with Peter Zak
  • En Rouge (2016) with Atlantico (Dave Schroeder/Sebastien Paindestre)
  • Jive Culture (2016) with Jeremy Pelt
  • Standards (2016) w/ Peter Zak
  • Jive Culture (2016) w/ Jeremy Pelt
  • Whirlwind (2016) w/ Andy Fusco
  • With Due Respect (2016) w/ Freddie Redd
  • En Rouge (2016) w/ Atlantico* Inside the Moment (2017) w/ Camille Thurman
  • Live and Uncut (2017) w/ Mark Whitfield
  • Cities Between Us (2017) w/ Allegra Levy
  • No Illusions (2017) Stanley Cowell
  • The Pendulum (2017) w/ Mike RIchmond
  • Picture in Black and White (NOA, 2018) w/ Tessa Souter
  • Jubilation (2018) w/J im Snidero and Jeremy Pelt
  • Trio in the New Harmonic: Aural Paintings (2018) w/ David Chesky
  • Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Sphere Monk (Sunnyside, 2018) w/ Frank Kimbrough
  • NYCD: A Tribute to Art Van Damme (2018) w/ Pierre Eriksson
  • Out in the Open (2018) w/ Sam Dillon
  • Playing Who I Am (2019) w/ Andrea Domenici
  • New Easter Island (2019) w/ Atlantico
  • One Mind (2018) w/ Peter Zak Quartet
  • Tones for Joan’s Bones (2018) w/ Mike Richmond
  • New Departure (2018) w/ Takayuki Yagi
  • Playing Who I Am (2019) w/ Andrea Domenici
  • New Easter Island (2019) w/ Atlantico



  1. Billy Drummond interview in Drumhead magazine
  4. "The State of Jazz: Meet 40 More Jersey Greats", The Star-Ledger, September 28, 2003, backed up by the Internet Archive as of September 27, 2008. Accessed September 15, 2017. "Billy Drummond – An exciting drummer who lives in West Orange with his wife, pianist Renee Rosnes, Drummond has performed and/or recorded with Rosnes, Sonny Rollins, Walt Weiskopf, Steve Kuhn, Carla Bley, Wallace Roney, the Drummonds and many others."
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