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Billy Hart

One of the busiest drummers on the jazz scene over the past 40 years, Billy Hart appears on over 600 albums. While most at home performing advanced jazz, Hart can play in virtually any style, adding class and swing to each situation. He was born in Washington D.C. in 1940. Hart played locally with Buck Hill and Shirley Horn, working with the Montgomery Brothers in 1961. Hart toured with Jimmy Smith during 1964-66 and was a member of Wes Montgomery’s last group during 1966-68. He moved to New York after Montgomery’s death, freelanced (including with Eddie Harris and Pharoah Sanders) and gained recognition as a member of the adventurous Herbie Hancock Sextet of 1969-73. Hart had important associations with McCoy Tyner (1973-74) and Stan Getz (1974-77) and was on Miles Davis’ 1972 recording On the Corner.

Hart has been a member of a countless number of bands since that time with the most significant including Gerry Mulligan, Clark Terry, Billy Harper, the New York Jazz Quartet, the Jazztet, Marian McPartland, Joanne Brackeen, Mingus Dynasty and Quest in the 1980s, and Charles Lloyd, Joe Lovano and Tom Harrell in the 1990s. He has also led his own occasional albums for A&M/Horizon, Gramavision, Arabesque and HighNote. Billy Hart, who currently leads a quartet, teaches extensively including at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, Western Michigan University and privately through the New School and New York University.