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Higgins, Billylocked

(11 October 1936–03 May 2001)
  • Barry Kernfeld

Extract

Higgins, Billy (11 October 1936–03 May 2001), jazz drummer, was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Samuel Higgins and Ann Blackstone. His parents' occupations are unknown. In October 1952, on his application for a social security account number, he gave his full name as Billy Higgins (that is, not William and without a middle name). Higgins's life reversed the jazz stereotype, whereby an innocent and promising young musician destroys himself prematurely through overindulgence in alcohol or drugs. For Higgins, by contrast, strength of character, musical talent, and an innate sweetness eventually won out against a difficult path into adulthood. Higgins played drums from childhood and began playing professionally at the age of twelve. He attended the Forty-Ninth Street and George Washington Carver Schools in east Los Angeles before moving to the Watts area, and at Jacob Reece, a detention school for high school students, he met the cornetist ...

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