Billy Hart

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Billy Hart
Hart performing in 1978
Hart performing in 1978
Background information
Born (1940-11-29) November 29, 1940 (age 82)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
GenresJazz, jazz fusion
Occupation(s)Musician, educator
Years active1958-present
LabelsHorizon, Gramavision, Arabesque, HighNote, Enja, SteepleChase, ECM

Billy Hart (born November 29, 1940)[1] is an American jazz drummer and educator. He is known internationally for his work with Herbie Hancock's "Mwandishi" band in the early 1970s, as well with Shirley Horn, Stan Getz, and Quest, among others.


Hart was born in Washington, D.C.[1] He grew up in close proximity of the Spotlite Club, where he first heard the music of Lee Morgan, Ahmad Jamal, and Miles Davis, among others.[2]

Early on in his career he performed with Otis Redding and Sam and Dave, then with Buck Hill. Although he studied mechanical engineering at Howard University, he left school early to tour with Shirley Horn, whom Hart credits with accelerating his musical development.[3] He was a sideman with the Montgomery Brothers (1961), Jimmy Smith (1964–1966), and Wes Montgomery (1966–68).[1] Following Montgomery's death in 1968, Hart moved to New York City, where he recorded with McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, and Pharoah Sanders (playing on his famed recording Karma in 1969), in addition to playing with Eddie Harris, Joanne Brackeen, and Marian McPartland.[4]

Hart was a member of Herbie Hancock's "Mwandishi" sextet from 1969 to 1973, recording three albums with Hancock (Mwandishi, Crossings, and Sextant) in this period. He subsequently went on to perform with 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).[4] He recorded his debut album Enchance in 1977, supported by musicians such as Don Pullen, Dave Holland, and Dewey Redman. Holland returned to play on Hart’s third release Oshumare in 1984, which also featured Branford Marsalis and Bill Frisell, among others.

Since the early 1990s, Hart has been associated with Oberlin Conservatory of Music.[5] He also teaches at the New England Conservatory of Music,[6] as well as holding an adjunct faculty position at Western Michigan University.[7][8] 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.[9]

Hart first formed his current Quartet (composed of Mark Turner, Ethan Iverson, and Ben Street) in 2003; they have gone on to record three albums as a group, most recently for ECM Records. He also performs with guitarist Assaf Kehati, and is a member of the band known as the Cookers, typically consisting of Eddie Henderson, David Weiss, Craig Handy (now Billy Harper), George Cables, and Cecil McBee. The band has toured extensively and has recorded six albums together.[2]

In 2021, Hart was announced as a 2022 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Master, along Stanley Clarke, Cassandra Wilson, and Donald Harrison, Jr.[10]

Hart resides in Montclair, New Jersey, where he has a music studio described by JazzTimes as his "inner sanctum".[11][12]


Billy Hart (right), Johnny Alegre (center), and bassist Ron McClure (left), recording Johnny Alegre 3 in New York City
Billy Hart at Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society, Half Moon Bay, California

As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

Dates indicate the year of the album's release. If the recording was issued more than a year later, the recording date is followed by the release date in brackets. "With" marks collaborative recordings as band and with the musicians equal credit for the album. Otherwise the Leader/line-up column is sorted by the musician's first name. Musicians and labels are only linked on first appearance.

Date Leader/line-up Album Label
1961 [1980] Wes Montgomery Live at Jorgies Jazz Club VGM
1961, 1968 [?] Wes Montgomery Live at Jorgies Jazz Club and More VGM
1963 Buck Clarke The Buck Clarke Sound Argo
1964 Jimmy Smith Christmas Cookin' Verve
1965 Jimmy Smith The Amazing Jimmy Smith Trio Live at the Village Gate Metro
1965 Jimmy Smith Live in Concert – The Incredible Jimmy Smith Metro
1965 Jimmy Smith La métamorphose des cloportes (O.S.T.) Verve
1968 Eddie Harris Pourquoi l'Amérique (O.S.T.) AZ
1968 Eddie Harris Silver Cycles Atlantic
1968 Paul Jeffrey Quintet Electrifying Sounds of the Paul Jeffrey Quintet Savoy
1969 Eddie Harris High Voltage Atlantic
1969 Eddie Harris Free Speech Atlantic
1969 Melvin Jackson Funky Skull Limelight
1969 Pharoah Sanders Karma Impulse!
1969 [1973] Pharoah Sanders Izipho Zam (My Gifts) Strata-East
1970 Marian McPartland Ambiance Halcyon
1970 [1974] McCoy Tyner Asante Blue Note
1971 Herbie Hancock Mwandishi Warner Bros.
1971 Harold Land A New Shade of Blue Mainstream
1971 Wayne Shorter Odyssey of Iska Blue Note
1971 Joe Zawinul Zawinul Atlantic
1972 Norman Connors Dance of Magic Cobblestone
1972 Miles Davis On the Corner Columbia
1972 [1974] Miles Davis Big Fun (material from On the Corner sessions) Columbia
1972 Hal Galper Wild Bird Mainstream
1972 Herbie Hancock Crossings Warner Bros.
1972 James Mtume with the Mtume Umoja Ensemble Alkebu-Lan – Land of the Blacks (Live at The East)[13] Strata-East
1972 Pharoah Sanders Black Unity Impulse!
1972 Buddy Terry Pure Dynamite Mainstream
1972 Pete Yellin Dance of Allegra Mainstream
1973 Catalyst Perception Muse
1973 Charles Earland The Dynamite Brothers (O.S.T.) Prestige
1973 Herbie Hancock Sextant Columbia
1973 Eddie Henderson Realization Capricorn
1973 Marc Levin Ensemble Songs Dances and Prayers[14] Sweet Dragon
1974 [1976] Walter Bishop Jr. Valley Land Muse
1974 Catalyst Unity Muse
1974 Carlos Garnett Black Love Muse
1974 Eddie Henderson Inside Out Capricorn
1974 Azar Lawrence Bridge into the New Age Prestige
1974 Bennie Maupin The Jewel in the Lotus ECM
1974 Cecil McBee Mutima Strata-East
1974 [1977] James Mtume Rebirth Cycle Third Street
1974 Hannibal Marvin Peterson and The Sunrise Orchestra Children of the Fire Sunrise
1974 Charles Sullivan Genesis Strata-East
1974 McCoy Tyner Sama Layuca Milestone
1975 Kenny Barron Lucifer Muse
1975 Joseph Bonner Triangle Whynot
1975 Joanne Brackeen Snooze Choice
1975 Sonny Fortune Awakening Horizon
1975 Stan Getz Jazz Jamboree 74, Vol. 2 Muza
1975 Stan Getz with João Gilberto The Best of Two Worlds Columbia
1975 [1982] Stan Getz The Master Columbia
1975 Eddie Henderson Sunburst Blue Note
1975 Bob Moses Bittersuite in the Ozone Mozown
1975 Michel Sardaby Gail
1975 Harold Vick Don't Look Back Strata-East
1975 Buster Williams Pinnacle Muse
1975 Stan Getz (one track, a.o.) Standard School Broadcast "Music Makers": Woodwinds & Reeds Chevron
1976 [1978] Joanne Brackeen Invitation Freedom
1976 Hal Galper Reach Out! SteepleChase
1976 [2016] Stan Getz with João Gilberto Getz/Gilberto '76 Resonance
1976 Eddie Henderson Heritage Blue Note
1976 Pat Martino Exit Muse
1976 Charles Sullivan Re-Entry Whynot
1976 Buster Williams Crystal Reflections Muse
1977 Black Renaissance Body, Mind and Spirit[15] Baystate
1977 [1979] Richard Davis Harvest Muse
1977 Stan Getz Live at Montmartre SteepleChase
1977 Stan Getz Another World Columbia
1977 Stan Getz Mort d'un pourri (O.S.T.) Melba
1977 Herbie Hancock V.S.O.P. Columbia
1977 Eddie Jefferson The Main Man Inner City
1977 Andy LaVerne Another World SteepleChase
1977 John Spider Martin Absolutely Improv
1977 Dave McKenna, The Wilbur Little Quartet Oil & Vinegar Honeydew
1977 Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen Trio 1 SteepleChase
1977 Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen Trio 2 SteepleChase
1977 Doug Raney Introducing Doug Raney SteepleChase
1977 Zbigniew Seifert Man of the Light MPS
1977 John Stowell Golden Delicious Inner City
1978 Pepper Adams Reflectory Muse
1978 Kenny Barron Innocence Wolf
1978 Walter Bishop Jr. Cubicle Muse
1978 [1982] with Walter Bishop, Jr. and George Mraz The Trio Progressive
1978 Hamiet Bluiett Resolution Black Saint
1978 Joanne Brackeen Tring-a-Ling Choice
1978 Arnett Cobb Arnett Cobb Is Back Progressive
1978 Albert Dailey That Old Feeling SteepleChase
1978 Billy Harper Soran-Bushi, B.H. Denon
1978 Buck Hill This Is Buck Hill SteepleChase
1978 Shirley Horn A Lazy Afternoon SteepleChase
1978 Jimmy Knepper with Joe Temperley Just Friends Hep
1978 Hannibal Marvin Peterson Naima Eastworld
1978 Doug Raney Cuttin' Loose SteepleChase
1978 Bobby Watson as Robert Watson Estimated Time of Arrival Roulette
1979 Chico Freeman Spirit Sensitive India Navigation
1979 Mack Goldsbury Anthropo-Logic Muse
1979 Dick Griffin Now Is the Time Trident
1979 Glen Hall The Book of the Heart Sonora
1979 Buck Hill Scope SteepleChase
1979 [1982] Duke Jordan Thinking of You SteepleChase
1979 Lee Konitz Yes, Yes, Nonet SteepleChase
1979 [1984] Lee Konitz Live at Laren Soul Note
1979 Jim McNeely The Plot Thickens Gatemouth
1979 John McNeil Quintet Faun SteepleChase
1979 John McNeil & Tom Harrell Look to the Sky SteepleChase
1979 Cam Newton The Motive Behind the Smile Inner City
1979 Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen Quartet Dancing on the Tables SteepleChase
1979 Doug Raney with Jimmy Raney Stolen Moments SteepleChase
1979 Jimmy Rowles Paws That Refresh Choice
1979 John Scofield Who's Who? Arista
1979 Louis Smith Quintet Prancin' SteepleChase
1979 with Clark Terry, Johnny Hartman, Oscar Peterson, Victor Sproles and Chris Woods Ain't Misbehavin' Pablo
1979 Buster Williams Heartbeat Muse
1980 Pierre Dørge Quartet Ballad Round the Left Corner SteepleChase
1980 Teddy Edwards Out of This World SteepleChase
1980 Chico Freeman Peaceful Heart, Gentle Spirit Contemporary
1980 Duke Jordan Change a Pace SteepleChase
1980 Mingus Dynasty Live at Montreux Atlantic
1980 Doug Raney Listen SteepleChase
1980 Mickey Tucker The Crawl Muse
1980 Tom Varner Tom Varner Quartet Soul Note
1980 Buster Williams Dreams Come True Buddah
1981 Pepper Adams Urban Dreams Palo Alto
1981 Franco Ambrosetti Heartbop Enja
1981 Hamiet Bluiett Dangerously Suite Soul Note
1981 [1983] Buck Hill Impressions SteepleChase
1981 Terumasa Hino Double Rainbow CBS/Sony
1981 Joachim Kühn Nightline New York Sandra Music
1981 Mingus Dynasty Live at Montreux Atlantic
1981 Dave Schnitter Glowing Muse
1982 Johnny Coles New Morning Criss Cross Jazz
1982 Art Farmer Quartet A Work of Art Concord Jazz
1982 Chico Freeman Tradition in Transition Elektra Musician
1982 Stan Getz Pure Getz Concord Jazz
1982 [1995] Stan Getz Blue Skies Concord Jazz
1982 Buck Hill Easy to Love SteepleChase
1982 Jay Hoggard Mystic Winds, Tropic Breezes India Navigation
1982 [1986] Jimmy Knepper 1st Place BlackHawk
1982 Arnie Lawrence Renewal Palo Alto
1982 Cecil McBee Flying Out India Navigation
1983 [1991] with Stanley Cowell, Billy Harper and Reggie Workman Such Great Friends Strata-East
1983 Chico Freeman The Search India Navigation
1983 James Newton James Newton Gramavision
1983 The Jazztet Nostalgia Baystate
1983 Tom Varner Motion/Stillness Soul Note
1984 Larry Coryell Comin' Home Muse
1984 Chico Freeman feat. Bobby McFerrin Tangents Elektra Musician
1984 Kip Hanranhan Conjure – Music for the Texts of Ishmael Reed American Clavé
1984 Jimmy Knepper I Dream Too Much Soul Note
1984 James Newton Luella Gramavision
1985 [1988] Pepper Adams The Adams Effect Uptown
1985 Paul Bley My Standard SteepleChase
1985 Larry Coryell Equipoise Muse
1985 Johnny Dyani Quartet Angolian Cry SteepleChase
1985 [1988] Duke Jordan Time on My Hands SteeplChase
1985 [1989] Duke Jordan As Time Goes By SteepleChase
1985 Didier Lockwood Out of the Blue Gramavision
1985 James Newton The African Flower – The Music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn Blue Note
1985 Big Nick Nicholas Big Nick India Navigation
1985 Doug Raney Guitar Guitar Guitar SteepleChase
1985 Idrees Sulieman Groovin' SteepleChase
1986 Miles Davis Tutu Warner Bros.
1986 [1991] Shirley Horn Trio Violets for Your Furs SteepleChase
1987 with Tal Farlow, John Abercrombie, Larry Carlton, Larry Coryell, John Scofield and John Patitucci All Strings Attached Verve
1987 Khan Jamal Thinking of You Storyville
1987 Ralph Moore 623 C Street Criss Cross Jazz
1987 with Quest II Storyville
1987 with Quest Midpoint – Quest III Live at the Montmartre Copenhagen Denmark Storyville
1988 Gary Bartz Quartet Monsoon SteepleChase
1988 John Handy Excursion in Blue Quartet
1988 Tom Harrell Stories (1991 reissue as Visions) Contemporary
1988 Duke Jordan Trio Time on My Hands SteepleChase
1988 Mingus Dynasty Live at the Theatre Boulogne-Billancourt/Paris, Vol. 1 Soul Note
1988 Mingus Dynasty Live at the Theatre Boulogne-Billancourt/Paris, Vol. 2 Soul Note
1988 with Quest N.Y. Nites – Standards PAN Music
1988 with Quest Natural Selection Pathfinder/Core
1988 Doug Raney Something's Up SteepleChase
1989 Paul Bley Trio The Nearness of You SteepleChase
1989 with Klaus Ignatzek and Ron McClure Take It Easy Nuovo
1989 Judy Niemack Long as You're Living Freelance
1990 Joey DeFrancesco Where Were You? Columbia
1990 Lars Møller Quartet Pyramid Stunt
1990 with Quest Of One Mind CMP
1991 Joanne Brackeen Is It Really True Konnex
1991 Shirley Horn You Won't Forget Me Verve
1991 James Newton/David Murray David Murray/James Newton Quintet DIW
1992 Sonny Fortune It Ain't What It Was Konnex
1992 with the Western Jazz Quartet (Trent Kynaston, Steve Zegree and Tom Knific) Firebird
1992 Jarmo Savolainen First Sight Timeless
1993 with Santi Debriano and Arthur Blythe 3–Ology Konnex
1993 Charles Lloyd The Call ECM
1993 Karlheinz Miklin Quartet (with Fritz Pauer and Ron McClure) Decisions
1993 Warren Vaché Horn of Plenty Muse
1994 with Jerry Bergonzi, Mike Stern, Andy LaVerne and George Mraz Vertical Reality Musidisc
1994 George Cables Quiet Fire SteepleChase
1994 Stanley Cowell Setup SteepleChase
1994 Sonny Fortune Four in One Blue Note
1994 Dick Griffin The Eighth Wonder & More Konnex
1994 with David Liebman and Cecil McBee The Seasons Soul Note
1994 Charles Lloyd All My Relations ECM
1994 Joe Lovano Quartets: Live at the Village Vanguard Blue Note
1994 Judy Niemack Night and the Music Freelance
1994 Grover Washington, Jr. All My Tomorrows Columbia
1995 Sonny Fortune A Better Understanding Blue Note
1995 Shirley Horn The Main Ingredient Verve
1995 Cæcilie Norby Cæcilie Norby Blue Note
1995 Jarmo Savolainen True Image A-Records
1996 George Cables Dark Side, Light Side SteepleChase
1996 Ray Drummond Vignettes Arabesque
1996 Jon Jang Sextet Two Flowers on a Stem Soul Note
1996 Lee Konitz It's You SteepleChase
1996 Charles Lloyd Canto ECM
1996 Chris Potter Moving In
1997 Nick Brignola Poinciana Reservoir
1997 [1999] Ray Drummond 1-2-3-4 Arabesque
1997 Horace Tapscott Thoughts of Dar es Salaam Arabesque
1998 Dave Douglas Moving Portrait DIW
1999 Kenny Barron Spirit Song Verve
1999 with Doug Raney and Joey DeFrancesco The Backbeat SteepleChase
2001 Pat Martino Live at Yoshi's Blue Note
2002 Charles Lloyd Lift Every Voice ECM
2002 [2005] Frank Morgan Raising the Standard HighNote
2003 Hilde Vanhove Insense Gandharva
2003 Karlheinz Miklin and Ron McClure from here to there
2003 [2007] Frank Morgan A Night in the Life HighNote
2004 Frank Morgan City Nights: Live at the Jazz Standard HighNote
2004 Karlheinz Miklin and Ron McClure In Between
2005 with Mark O'Leary and Tomasz Stanko Levitation Leo
2006 Frank Morgan Reflections HighNote
2006 The Leaders Spirits Alike Double Moon
2007 with David Liebman, Richie Beirach and Ron McClure Redemption hatOLOGY
2007 with Quest Re-Dial (Live in Hamburg) Outnote
2010 Jean-Michel Pilc True Story Disques Dreyfus
2011 Brian Landrus Traverse
2011 with Quest Circular Dreaming Enja
2011 Iñaki Sandoval Miracielos
2011 Tied & Tickled Trio La Place Demon Morr
2012 Karlheinz Miklin and Heiri Känzig Cymbal Symbols TCB Music
2012 Odean Pope Odean's Three In+Out
2014 Tisziji Munoz Heart Trance Revelation Anami
2014 Yelena Eckemoff feat. Mark Turner, Joe Locke & George Mraz A Touch of Radiance L & H
2014 with Bobby Hutcherson, David Sanborn, Joey DeFrancesco Enjoy the View Blue Note
2015 Karlheinz Miklin and Heiri Känzig Encore
2015 Yelena Eckemoff feat. Arild Andersen Lions L & H
2015 John Raymond, Dan Tepfer, Joe Martin Foreign Territory[16] Fresh Sound
2015 Aaron Parks feat. Ben Street Find The Way ECM
2016 Yelena Eckemoff feat. Mark Feldman & Ben Street Leaving Everything Behind L & H
2016 Marcos Varela San Ygnacio Origin
2019 Joey DeFranceso In the Key of the Universe Mack Avenue
2019 Bruno Ruder & Rémi Dumoulin Gravitational Waves


  1. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1096. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ a b Effinger, Shannon J. (October 1, 2021). ""In the Cookers, collective centuries of heat"". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 21, 2022.
  3. ^ "Billy Hart Biography, Songs, & Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  4. ^ a b Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2000). The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (Fifth ed.). Penguin Books. ISBN 9780140514520.
  5. ^ "Oberlin Conservatory of Music faculty page". Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  6. ^ "New England Conservatory of Music faculty page". New England Conservatory of Music. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  7. ^ Wood, William. "Master jazz drummer Billy Hart returns to Western Michigan University drum choir". Kalamazoo Gazette. MLive Media Group. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  8. ^ Gazette, William R. Wood | Kalamazoo (2011-03-28). "Master jazz drummer Billy Hart returns to Western Michigan University drum choir". mlive. Retrieved 2022-03-21.
  9. ^ "Biography : Billy Hart". Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  10. ^ "National Endowment for the Arts Announces 2022 NEA Jazz Masters". Retrieved 2022-03-21.
  11. ^ "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."
  12. ^ Seidel, Mitchell. "Billy Hart", JazzTimes, April 25, 2019. Accessed January 11, 2021. "The inner sanctum of Billy Hart’s Montclair, N.J. home is a basement music studio that serves as a combination listening room, recreation room and classroom for visiting music students.... Billy Hart’s home looks like most others off Montclair’s main street of Bloomfield Avenue, a multistory, circa-1920s wood-frame structure with a small front yard and a narrow driveway on the side, except for the exterior color scheme of lavender and purple, which seems to scream 'alternative lifestyle' and makes the house leap out from the rest of the block."
  13. ^ Alkebu-Lan – Land of the Blacks at Discogs (list of releases)
  14. ^ Songs Dances and Prayers at Discogs (list of releases)
  15. ^ Body, Mind and Spirit at Discogs (list of releases)
  16. ^ 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]