Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Drummond, Billy, drums; b. Newport News, VA, 19 June 1959. He 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 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, 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.
During the past eight years, many of the world's greatest jazz artists have called upon Billy to perform and record including: Sonny Rollins, J.J. Johnson, Joe Henderson, Nat Adderley, Bobby Hutcherson, James Moody, Steve Kuhn, Freddie Hubbard and Buster Williams. He has also contributed to the work of the new generation of rising stars such as Vincent Herring, Ralph Moore, Renee Rosnes, Christian McBride, and Javon Jackson among others. Billy is most definitely in the pantheon of tasteful drummers whose musicality and finesse always contributes to a greater effect.
In addition to staying active recording and touring as a sideman, Billy Drummond has released three CDs as a leader. Native Colours featured Steve Nelson, Steve Wilson, Renee Rosnes and Ray Drummond. The Gift featured Seamus Blake, Renee Rosnes and Peter Washington.
His latest recording, a quartet date, is entitled Dubai . This is a pianoless group featuring 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 an eclectic mix of originals by the leader and members of the quartet, rounded out with compositions by Dewey Redman, Pat Metheny and Billy Strayhorn. Peter Watrous of the New York Times named Dubai his Number One choice of top jazz CDs of 1996.
Billy is also a member of the cooperative band by the name of Native Colours that features tenor saxophonist Ralph Moore, pianist Renee Rosnes and bassist Larry Grenadier. This Quartet's debut recording is One World and has received rave reviews from critics and fans alike.