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A profile of the Jazz drummer, part of the Saxophone Summit Podcast series, celebrating the release of ‘Seraphic LIght’ on Telarc Records.
Billy Hart (born November 29, 1940) is an American jazz drummer and educator.
Hart was born in Washington, D.C., where early on in his career he performed with soul artists such as Otis Redding and Sam and Dave, and then later with Buck Hill and Shirley Horn, and was a sideman with the Montgomery Brothers (1961), Jimmy Smith (1964–1966), and Wes Montgomery (1966–68). Following Montgomery’s death in 1968, Hart moved to New York, where he recorded with McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, and Joe Zawinul, and played with Eddie Harris, Pharoah Sanders, and Marian McPartland.
Hart was a member of Herbie Hancock’s sextet (1969–73), and played with McCoy Tyner (1973–74), Stan Getz (1974–77), and Quest (1980s), in addition to extensive freelance playing (including recording with Miles Davis on 1972’s On the Corner.
Since the early 1990s, Hart has been associated with Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and is also adjunct faculty at the New England Conservatory of Music and Western Michigan University. He also conducts private lessons through the New School and New York University. The drummer often contributes to the Stokes Forest Music Camp and the Dworp Summer Jazz Clinic in Belgium.
He has led a group with Mark Turner, Ethan Iverson, and Ben Street, is featured in a trio led by pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, another led by guitarist Assaf Kehati, and has performed in a band known as the Cookers, with Eddie Henderson, David Weiss, Craig Handy, George Cables and Cecil McBee, all who have toured extensively and recorded two CDs
Hart resides in Montclair, New Jersey