Paiste Artist Since
Billy Higgins Band
11.10.1936-03.05.2001 As a member of the groundbreaking Ornette Coleman-led quartet that launched the free jazz renaissance, Billy Higgins remains one of the most important and controversial drummers in music history. Born October 11, 1936, in Los Angeles, Billy Higgins started on the drums at age 12 He began his professional career playing R&B, supporting headliners including Bo Diddley, Amos Milburn, and Jimmy Witherspoon. In 1953 he joined high school friend and trumpeter Don Cherry in the Jazz Messiahs. Both Higgins and Cherry soon joined Coleman’s rehearsal group, which performed its first live gigs in 1958, opening for Paul Bley at L.A.’s Hilcrest Club. Audiences were either angered or simply baffled by Coleman’s radical sensibility. With the release of his debut LP, “Something Else!!!! The Music of Ornette Coleman”, the controversy spread throughout the jazz populace, dividing musicians, critics, and fans alike. In the early 1960s, he worked with Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and Sonny Rollins. By then he had become one of the most in-demand freelance drummers on the scene, particularly on many Blue Note sessions. During the following decades he became one of the most widely recorded drummers in jazz; he made albums with the quintets of Steve Lacy (1961), Sonny Clark (1961), and Lee Morgan (1963, 1966), as well as with Donald Byrd (1961), Gordon (1962, 1975), Jackie McLean (1966, 1967), Hank Mobley (1967), Mal Waldron (1973), Clifford Jordan (1975), and Niels-Henning Orsted-Pedersen (1975, 1976), and was a leader with Bill Lee and Bill Hardman of the Brass Company (1972-73). He performed and recorded with Cedar Walton (1975-85), led a quartet (recording in 1979 and 1980), and made recordings as a sideman with Milt Jackson (1976, 1978), Art Pepper (1979), J.J. Johnson (1979), Joe Henderson's quartet (1980), Pat Metheny(1982), David Murray's big band (1984), and Slide Hampton's quintet (1985). In 1989, Higgins co-founded a cultural community center, the World Stage, in Los Angeles to advance the position of African-American music, literature, and art. Higgins also taught in the jazz studies program at the University of California, Los Angeles. His final performance was at the Los Angeles club Bones and Blues, on Jan. 22, when his students and his colleagues played in a benefit to support his fight against liver disease. Billy Higgins died of kidney and liver failure on May 3, 2001 at a hospital in Inglewood, California.
Sound character: Dark, dry, woody. Fairly wide range, complex mix. Soft, responsive feel. Full, warm, open sound. Loose, soggy chick sound. Perfectly suited for traditional swing patterns, but also well usable for other acoustic styles like Blues, Country, Soul or Gospel.
Sizes: 20", 22", 24"
Sound character: Full, rich, fairly bright, solid. Medium range, clean mix. Controlled and even feel. Very nice and sparkling stick sound supported by a breathy layer of wash. Perfectly balanced. A dynamic all around cymbal for many musical styles played at moderate level.
Sound character: Warm, mellow, crystal-like. Medium range, fairly clean mix. Very balanced and controlled feel. A pearly, woody stick sound paired with a silvery wash. A very sensitive cymbal perfectly suited for soft playing at lower volume level and studio application.