Friday, July 3, 2009


Drummer Billy Higgins has long been one of my favorite jazz drummers. His huge grin from behind the drums earned him the nickname "Smilin' Billy" and he was in high demand as a sideman over the years. His comping rhythms and sensitivity make Mr. Higgins a great example of how a jazz drummer can musically accompany a soloist. His drumming style is required stuff for any serious students of this music. 

The joy, happiness and spirit that he brings to the music is always a nice reminder of what this music is supposed to be all about in the first place:  


Here are a couple of clips of Higgins playing some nice drum solos. I really dig the way he switches from sticks to brushes to mallets, etc. It's almost like he creates a sense of different "movements" within his own symphony of rhythm.

Check out how Dizzy Gillespie is standing in the background, totally immersed in Higgin's drum solo. pressure !!!

And here is Mr. Higgins playing a duet with Charles Lloyd shortly before he passed away. Apparently he was very sick when they recorded this. Again, the sense of joy that he exudes when playing the drums is really inspiring stuff.

Thank you Billy !

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