Lonnie Hillyer (March 25, 1940 in Monroe, Georgia – July 1, 1985 in New York City) was an American jazz trumpeter, strongly influenced by Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and other bebop legends of that era.
Lonnie Hillyer moved with his family to Detroit at age three, and began studying music at 14 under Barry Harris. In 1960, he moved to New York City, where he played with Charles Mingus, Yusef Lateef, and Clifford Jarvis. Lonnie Hillyer's association with Mingus lasted more than a decade, performing on records such as "My Favorite Quintet" and "Let My Children Hear Music".
In 1966, Lonnie Hillyer and Charles McPherson formed a quintet performed together during the years following. McPherson also grew up with Hillyer in Detroit. Around 1983 he and (former Monk tenor saxophonist) Charles Rouse formed a jazz quintet ("Bebop Quintessence"), with (drummer) Leroy Williams, (pianist) Hugh Lawson and (bassist) Ben Brown.
He died of cancer in July 1985.
His son, Lonnie D. Hillyer, is a rock bassist (J. Walter Negro & The Loose Jointz, Maggie's Dream, Billy Joel, Gordon Gano, Bernie Worrell, Andrea Álvarez).
With Eric Dolphy
- Candid Dolphy (Candid, 1960)
With Barry Harris
- Newer Than New (Riverside, 1961)
With Yusef Lateef
- Cry! - Tender (New Jazz, 1959)
With Charles McPherson
With Charles Mingus
- Reincarnation of a Lovebird (Candid, 1960)
- The Complete Town Hall Concert (Blue Note, 1962 )
- Mingus at Monterey (Jazz Workshop, 1964)
- My Favorite Quintet (Jazz Workshop, 1965)
- Music Written for Monterey 1965 (Jazz Workshop, 1965)
- Let My Children Hear Music (Columbia, 1971)
- Charles Mingus and Friends in Concert (Columbia, 1972)
With Pharoah Sanders
- Oh Pharoah Speak - The Latin Jazz Quintet-Oh! (1965)