Billy Drummond first came to international prominence in the 1980s as a member of the bands of three jazz legends: Horace Silver, J.J. Johnson, and Sonny Rollins. Drummond appears on more than 300 albums. He is also an accomplished bandleader and can be heard on several recordings under his own name, including Dubai, which was first in a New York Times list of top 10 best jazz CDs of 1996. He leads his own band, Freedom of Ideas, in New York.
Drummond, who was born in Newport News, Va., grew up listening to his father’s extensive jazz record collection. Encouraged by his father, also a drummer and saxophonist, he was given his first drum at the age of 4 and was playing in local bands by the time he was 8. After graduating from the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music, where he studied classical percussion for two years before switching to jazz, Drummond moved to New York in 1988, at the behest of Al Foster, and was almost immediately recruited to the young band Out of the Blue, recording Spiral Staircase for Blue Note Records, before becoming a member of Horace Silver’s Sextet. Since then, Drummond has recorded and toured with many of the world’s jazz legends, including Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Carla Bley (as a member of Carla Bley and the Lost Chords), Chris Potter, Lee Konitz, Eddie Gomez, Buster Williams, Nat Adderley, George Cables, Charles Tolliver, Andrew Hill, Steve Kuhn, Hank Jones, Joe Lovano, Christian McBride, Joe Locke, Sheila Jordan, Larry Willis, Javon Jackson, Archie Shepp, Charles McPherson, Tony Malaby, Eric Reed, Eddie Henderson, and Marty Ehrlich and international artists Franco Ambrosetti, Karin Krog, Sadao Wantanabe, Toots Thielmans, Barney Wilen, Tommy Smith, Yakov Okun, and Tony Lakatos. While continuing to maintain a busy touring schedule, Drummond, is also a highly respected educator. He teaches jazz drums at Juilliard and N.Y.U. and gives private lessons and workshops around the world.