Billy Drummond

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Billy Drummond
Billy Drummond in 2008
Billy Drummond in 2008
Background information
Birth nameWillis Robert Drummond Jr.
Born (1959-06-15) June 15, 1959 (age 64)
Newport News, Virginia, U.S.
Years active1980s–present
Billy Drummond in Aarhus, Denmark, 2020

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

Early life[edit]

Billy Drummond was born in Newport News, 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 Victor Wooten and the other Wooten brothers,[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 bassist 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 four albums as bandleader, including his Criss Cross album Dubai (featuring Chris Potter, Walt Weiskopf and Peter Washington), which was included in the list of “50 Crucial Jazz Drumming Recordings of the Past 100 Years” by Modern Drummer magazine.[3] His most recent album, Valse Sinistre, leading his band Freedom of Ideas, with Micah Thomas, Dezron Douglas and Dayna Stephens, came out on the Canadian Cellar Live label in August 2022. He has made five albums as a co-leader, including We’ll Be Together Again with Javon Jackson and Ron Carter. 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, Buster Williams, Charles Tolliver, Lew Tabackin and Toshiko Akiyoshi, Hank Jones, James Moody, Sonny Rollins, Andy LaVerne, Lee Konitz, Dave Stryker, George Colligan, Ted Rosenthal, Bruce Barth, Joe Lovano, Andrew Hill, Larry Willis, Toots Thielmans, Freddie Hubbard, Chris Potter, Eddie Gómez, Stanley Cowell, Javon Jackson, and Sheila Jordan. He is a long-time member of Carla Bley's Lost Chords Quartet, Sheila Jordan's Quartet, and the Steve Kuhn Trio.


As leader[edit]

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

With Stanley Cowell

  • 2014: Are You Real
  • 2015: Reminiscent
  • 2017: No Illusions

With Eddie Henderson

  • 1998: Dreams of Gershwin
  • 1999: Reemergence
  • 2001: Oasis
  • 2010: For All We Know

As sideman[edit]



  1. ^ Billy Drummond interview in Drumhead magazine
  2. ^ "Oteil Burbridge: Making Peace article @ All About Jazz". 10 April 2001.
  3. ^ "50 Crucial Jazz Drumming Recordings".