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Billy Higgins was born on this date in 193 in Los Angeles. He was a Black jazz drummer.
He began his career drumming in rock and R&B bands with Bo Diddley and Amos Milburn. His earliest jazz work was with Don Cherry, James Clay's Jazz Messiahs, and with Dexter Gordon. In the mid-1950s, Higgins began rehearsing with Ornette Coleman; his first recordings were with Coleman in 1958. He also held sessions with Red Mitchell.
In the following decades, the shortlist of Higgins' discography would include material with Steve Lacy, Lee Morgan, Donald Byrd, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson, Mal Waldron, and David Murray, as well as leading the Brass Company with Bill Lee and Bill Hardman. He also worked as a member of the Timeless All-Stars. A lifetime Los Angeles resident, Higgins was a mentor to the young musicians who formed the B Sharp Quartet and Black Note. Higgins had a cameo in the movie "'Round Midnight."
The combination of his loosely swinging tempos and controlled technique made him popular with fellow musicians as diverse as Thelonious Monk and Pat Metheny. Billy Higgins died in June 2001.
by Harry N. Abrams, Incorporated, New York
ACSAP Biographical Dictionary
R. R. Bowker Co., Copyright 1980