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Artist biography Billy Drummond
"Drummond's playing exudes a wealth of jazz history along with a surprisingly adventurous approach...he arrives as one of the most promising leader-drummers in jazz," states a recent feature article about Billy in Modern Drummer magazine.
Billy Drummond was born in 1959 in Newport News, Virginia and began to play the drums at the age of four, influenced by his father who was also a drummer. His love affair with jazz began through his father's record collection, which included many of the classic recordings of Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Max Roach, and so on.
During his youth, Billy Drummond played in various school and local bands, studying many styles of music. He then went on to college and obtained a degree in Music Performance.
In early 1988, Billy arrived in New York City, looking forward to experiencing a healthier jazz scene. His first major break on the circuit was to join the young band, "Out of the Blue" (OTB), with whom he recorded on the group's final CD for Blue Note Records. Soon after, Billy joined piano master Horace Silver's Sextet and toured with them extensively.
Many of the world's greatest jazz artists have called upon Billy Drummond to tour and record with them including: Carla Bley, Sonny Rollins, Steve Kuhn Joe Henderson, J.J. Johnson, Nat Adderley, Bobby Hutcherson, Buster Williams, Lee Konitz, James Moody, Andrew Hill, Freddie Hubbard, Charles Tolliver, Sheila Jordan, Toots Thielmanns.
Billy Drummond can be heard on more than 200 CDs in almost all genres of jazz and creative music (see discrography). Billy is most definitely in the pantheon of tasteful drummers whose musicality and finesse always contribute to a greater effect.
Currently Billy Drummond is adjunct professor of Jazz Drums at the Juilliard School of Music and at New York University, as well as teaching privately.
In addition to being one of the most sought-after sidemen, Billy Drummond has released three CDs as a leader; Native Colours, The Gift featuring such artists as Steve Nelson, Steve Wilson, Peter Washington and Seamus Blake. Jazz Times magazine said of The Gift, "the recording has a richness and total lack of cliches...imaginative, satisfying and memorable." Dubai, his third solo release, "Drummond's nimble, pianoless quartet spins jazz on the head of a pin with stunning results." (JazzTimes)
Dubai was voted # 1 on New York Times jazz critic Peter Watrous. The CD features the two tenors of Chris Potter and Walt Weiskopf, bassist Peter Washington as well as Billy's powerful drumming at the helm. The material is a compelling mix of originals by the leader and members of the quartet, rounded out with compositions by Dewey Redman, Pat Metheny and Billy Strayhorn. Dubai received high praise from critics, and received a four star review in Downbeat in which the author wrote, "a case has been made for Billy Drummond's new persona: one of the hippest bandleaders now at work."