WUSF All Night Jazz Focus Artist of the Week: Billy Hart

Billy Hart. Photo: John Rogers/ECM Records.

This week on All Night Jazz we’ll focus on drummer Billy Hart who turns 80 this week.

Born November 29, 1940, in Washington D.C., Hart was born into an extremely creative and intellectual family. His father was a mathematician, and both his parents were jazz fans who encouraged Hart to learn about the music.

He grew up near the D.C.’s Spotlite club where, at an early age, he was exposed to Miles Davis, Art Blakey and others.

Early on Hart had a chance to work with legendary soul acts Otis Redding and Sam and Dave. He later landed gigs with Shirley Horn and, in 1961, the Montgomery Brothers. This led to opportunities with Jimmy Smith and, from 1964 to 1968, back with guitarist Wes Montgomery.

After Montgomery passed away in 1968, Hart moved to New York where he blossomed with Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Stan Getz and his early musical influence, Miles Davis.

Hart has recorded 11 albums as a leader and countless more as a sideman with Harold Land, Frank Morgan and many others.

We’ll sway to the sonic rhythms of drummer Billy Hart , all week long on All Night Jazz.

Read: WUSF Focus Artist of the Week: Randy Brecker