Billy Hart

Drums (Visiting Faculty Artist)


Billy Hart

Billy Hart is a world renowned jazz drummer and a visiting artist in the School of Music at Western Michigan University. His affiliation with WMU began in 1992 when he was Artist-in-Residence under the aegis of the Martin Luther King-Cesar Chavez-Rosa Parks Visiting Professor Program. During this time he has taught classes, drumset, and coaches student ensembles. He also performs with the Western Jazz Quartet on tour and on record and is featured on three of the group’s CD’s: Firebird, Blue Harts, and Sabine’s Dance. He also appears on a number other WMU Jazz Faculty recordings.

With more than 40 years experience in jazz performance and teaching, Hart has long been one of the most “in-demand” jazz drummers. Making more than 500 recordings, Hart has performed with virtually every major artist including: Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Herbie Hancock, Quest, Charles Lloyd, Eddie Harris, Joe Lovano, Tom Harrell, Jimmy Smith, Buster Williams, Joao Gilberto, Benny Golson, Wes Montgomery, McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, Pharoah Sanders, Marian McPartland, Jimmie Rowles, JoAnne Brackeen, Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, Doug Raney, Lee Konitz, Clark Terry, Duke Jordan, Chico Freeman, Johnny Coles, James Newton , Jimmy Knepper, Peter Leitch, Paul Bley, The Mingus Dynasty, Dave Liebman and Richard Beirach, John Patitucci, Ray Brown, John Abercrombie, Larry Carlton, Larry Coryell, Tal Farlow, and John Scofield, Ralph Moore, Gary Bartz, Judy Niemack, Marc Copland, Gust William Tsilis, Jane Bunnett, Warren Vache, Sonny Fortune, Stanley Cowell, Denise Jannah, Ivo Perelman, Kevin Hays, Ray Drummond, Eddie Henderson, Jerry Bergonzi, Uli Beckerhoff, George Cables, Ron McClure, Andy LaVerne, Don Byron, and Chris Potter. He also led a band which held annual engagements at Sweet Basil, New York, through the 1990s. Hart is widely regarded as one of the most capable of modern-jazz drummers; he is equally at home in electronic and rock-influenced styles, in free jazz, and in bop. He is the author of book Jazz Drumming. (Rottenburg, Germany, 1988, and New Albany, IN, 1989)

Billy Hart’s own records include:

  • Enchance (1977, A&M Horizon) with Dewey Redman, Marvin “Hannibal” Peterson, Eddie Henderson, Oliver Lake, Don Pullen, Buster Williams, and Dave Holland
  • Such Great Friends (1983, Strata East) with Billy Harper, Stanley Cowell, and Reggie Workman.
  • Oshumare (1985, Gramavision) with Steve Coleman, Branford Marsalis, Didier Lockwood, Kenny Kirkland, Bill Frisell, Kevin Eubanks, Mark Grey, and Dave Holland
  • Great Friends (1986, Evidence) with Sonny Fortune, Billy Harper, Stanley Cowell, and Reggie Workman
  • Rah (1987, Gramavision) with Dave Liebman, Kenny Kirkland, Eddie Henderson, Ralph Moore, Kevin Eubanks, Bill Frisell, Mark Grey, Eddie Gomez, Buster Williams, and Caris Visentin
  • Amethyst (1993, Arabesque) with John Stubblefield, Mark Feldman, David Fiuczynski, David Kikoski, Marc Copland, and Santi Debriano
  • Oceans of Time (1996, Arabesque) with John Stubblefield, Chris Potter, Mark Feldman, David Fiuczynski, David Kikoski, and Santi Debriano
  • Quartet ( 2006, High Note) with Ethan Iverson, Mark Turner, Ben Street

In addition to his distinguished career as a performer, Hart has an extensive knowledge of Non-Western music. He appears as a clinician for Pearl drums and Zildjian cymbals.





Billy Hart in the Studio

















Billy Hart Quartet