Billy Hart

Billy Hart (born November 29, 1940) is an American jazz drummer and educator.

Billy Hart
Hart performing in 1978
Background information
Born (1940-11-29) November 29, 1940
Washington, D.C., U.S.
GenresJazz, jazz fusion
LabelsHorizon, Gramavision, Arabesque, HighNote, Enja, SteepleChase, ECM
Associated actsHerbie Hancock, The Cookers


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).

Since the early 1990s, Hart has been associated with Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and is also 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. The drummer often contributes to the Stokes Forest Music Camp and the Dworp Summer Jazz Clinic in Belgium.

He has led a group with Mark Turner, Ethan Iverson, and Ben Street, is featured in a trio led by pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, another led by guitarist Assaf Kehati, and has performed in a band known as the Cookers, with Eddie Henderson, David Weiss, Craig Handy, George Cables and Cecil McBee, all who have toured extensively and recorded two CDs.

Hart resides in Montclair, New Jersey.[1]


As leader


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

With Franco Ambrosetti

With Pepper Adams

With Kenny Barron

With Walter Bishop Jr.

With Paul Bley

With Hamiet Bluiett

With Joanne Brackeen

With Nick Brignola

With George Cables

With Catalyst

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

With Arnett Cobb

With Johnny Coles

With Larry Coryell

With Stanley Cowell

  • Setup (SteepleChase, 1994)
With Albert Dailey

With Miles Davis

With Richard Davis

With Joey DeFrancesco

With Dave Douglas

With Ray Drummond

With Charles Earland

With Yelena Eckemoff

With Teddy Edwards

With Sonny Fortune

With Chico Freeman

With Hal Galper

With Carlos Garnett

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 Buck Hill

With Shirley Horn

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

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 Ralph Moore

With Frank Morgan

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, 1977)
  • Trio 2 (SteepleChase, 1977)
  • Dancing on the Tables (SteepleChase, 1979)
  • 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 Jarmo Savolainen

  • First Sight (Timeless, 1992)
  • True Image (A-Records, 1995)

With Zbigniew Seifert

  • Man of the Light (MPS, 1977)

With Wayne Shorter

With Jimmy Smith

With Idrees Sulieman

With Charles Sullivan

With Horace Tapscott

With Buddy Terry

With McCoy Tyner

With Warren Vaché

With Tom Varner

With Buster Williams

  • Pinnacle (Muse, 1975)
  • Crystal Reflections (Muse, 1976)
  • Heartbeat (Muse, 1979)
  • Dreams Come True (Buddah, 1980)

With Joe Zawinul

With others


  1. "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 Hart -- A versatile, inventive drummer, Hart lives in Montclair."
  2. Chinen, Nate (5 May 2015). "Review: John Raymond, Uncovering the Possibilities of the Familiar". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
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