Billy Higgins

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Billy Higgins
Billy Higgins.jpg
Billy Higgins in 1978.
Background information
Born(1936-10-11)October 11, 1936
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedMay 3, 2001(2001-05-03) (aged 64)
Inglewood, California, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, educator

Billy Higgins (October 11, 1936 – May 3, 2001) was an American jazz drummer. He played mainly free jazz and hard bop.[1]


Higgins was born in Los Angeles, California, United States.[2] Higgins played on Ornette Coleman's first records, beginning in 1958.[3] He then freelanced extensively with hard bop and other post-bop players, including Donald Byrd, Dexter Gordon, Grant Green, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Don Cherry, Paul Horn, Milt Jackson, Jackie McLean, Pat Metheny, Hank Mobley, Thelonious Monk, Lee Morgan, David Murray, Art Pepper, Sonny Rollins, Mal Waldron, and Cedar Walton.[3] He was one of the house drummers for Blue Note Records and played on dozens of Blue Note albums of the 1960s.[3] He also collaborated with composer La Monte Young and guitarist Sandy Bull.

In his career, he played on over 700 recordings, including recordings of rock and funk. He appeared as a jazz drummer in the 2001 movie, Southlander.

In 1989, Higgins cofounded a cultural center, The World Stage, in Los Angeles to encourage and promote younger jazz musicians. The center provides workshops in performance and writing, as well as concerts and recordings. Higgins also taught in the jazz studies program at the University of California, Los Angeles.[4]

He was divorced from wife Mauricina Altier Higgins and had three sons, William, Joseph, and David, as well as a stepson Jody. He also had two daughters, Rickie Wade and Heidi.

Billy Higgins died of kidney and liver failure on May 3, 2001, at a hospital in Inglewood, California.[4]


As leader[edit]

As a sideman[edit]

With Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt

With Chris Anderson

With Gary Bartz

With Paul Bley

With Sandy Bull

With Jaki Byard

With Donald Byrd

With Joe Castro

With Don Cherry

With Sonny Clark

With George Coleman

With Ornette Coleman

With John Coltrane

With Junior Cook

With Bill Cosby

  • Hello, Friend: To Ennis With Love (Verve, 1997)

With Stanley Cowell

With Ray Drummond

  • The Essence (DMP, 1985)

With Teddy Edwards

With Booker Ervin

With Art Farmer

With Curtis Fuller

With Stan Getz

With Dexter Gordon

With Grant Green

With Dodo Greene

With Charlie Haden

With Slide Hampton

  • Roots (Criss Cross, 1985)

With Herbie Hancock

With Barry Harris

With Eddie Harris

With Johnny Hartman

With Jimmy Heath

With Joe Henderson

With Andrew Hill

With Richard "Groove" Holmes

With Paul Horn

With Toninho Horta

With Freddie Hubbard

With Bobby Hutcherson

With J. J. Johnson

With Hank Jones and Dave Holland

With Sam Jones

With Clifford Jordan

With Fred Katz

With Steve Lacy

With Charles Lloyd

With Pat Martino

  • The Visit! (Cobblestone, 1972) also released as Footprints

With Jackie McLean

With Charles McPherson

With Pat Metheny

With Blue Mitchell

With Red Mitchell

With Hank Mobley

With Thelonious Monk

With Buddy Montgomery

With Tete Montoliu

With Frank Morgan

With Lee Morgan

With Bheki Mseleku

  • Star Seeding (Polygram Records, 1995)

With David Murray

With Horace Parlan

With Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen

With Art Pepper

With Dave Pike

With Jimmy Raney

With Sonny Red

With Freddie Redd

With Joshua Redman

With Red Rodney

With Sonny Rollins

With Charlie Rouse

With Hilton Ruiz

With Pharoah Sanders

With Rob Schneiderman

With John Scofield

With Shirley Scott

With Archie Shepp

With Sonny Simmons

With James Spaulding

With Robert Stewart

With Sonny Stitt

With Idrees Sulieman

With Ira Sullivan

With Sun Ra

With Cecil Taylor

With Lucky Thompson

With the Timeless All Stars

With Bobby Timmons

With Charles Tolliver

With Stanley Turrentine

With Mal Waldron

With Cedar Walton

With Don Wilkerson

With David Williams

With Jack Wilson


  1. ^ "Billy Higgins | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  2. ^ James Nadal (ed.). "Billy Higgins". All About Jazz. Archived from the original on 2010-05-05. Retrieved 2010-11-16.
  3. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Jazz (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 202. ISBN 0-85112-580-8.
  4. ^ a b Ratliff, Ben (2001-05-04). "Billy Higgins, 64, Jazz Drummer With Melodic and Subtle Swing". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-16.

External links[edit]