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Jimmy Wormworth

James E. “Jimmy” Wormworth III, born August 14, 1937 in Utica, New York, is a seasoned, veteran jazz drummer who trumpeter John Marshall (WDR Big Band) calls “a living part of jazz history.” At age 20 he toured Europe with his own quartet, then went to New York City on the invitation of arranger Torrie Zito and soon began touring the United States with Nellie Lutcher.

Along with Mal Waldron and Peck Morrison in the house rhythm section of the legendary Five Spot café in 1959, he worked with Art Farmer, Kenny Dorham, John Coltrane, Booker Little, Pepper Adams, Bobby Jaspar and many more. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he worked with Lou Donaldson, “Les Jazz Modes” (Charlie Rouse, Julius Watkins), Phineaus Newborn, Sahib Shihab, Babs Gonzalez and Lambert, Hendricks and Ross.

In 1969, Jimmy Wormworth was invited by Barry Harris to perform with Coleman Hawkins at The Fillmore East for Mr. Hawkins' second-to-last performance before his death. He has also performed with Roy Eldridge, Ernestine Anderson and Helen Humes. He worked regularly with Al Haig from 1969 until 1982 as well as with J. R. Monterose, Charles Davis, Lonnie Hillyer, Charles McPherson, Barry Harris and Dizzy Reece. In addition, he performed with baritone-saxophone legend Cecil Payne in 2003.

His extensive discography includes seminal recordings with Charlie Rouse and Julius Watkins, Lou Donaldson, Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, Jon Hendricks, Al Haig, J. R. Monterose, Allen Eager, Hod O’Brien and Josh White, more recently, highly acclaimed albums with Annie Ross, Joe Magnarelli, Tardo Hammer, Charles Davis and John Marshall.

Jimmy Wormworth is also a recipient of "The Barry" award, given to him in 2005 by Barry Harris "For True Jazz Mastery."

These days, as one of the generation of great bebop drummers in New York City, Jimmy keeps a busy working schedule. Recently he toured Germany and Switzerland with both Charles Davis and John Marshall and has also toured Europe with Annie Ross, Warren Vaché and Tardo Hammer. In 2011 and 2012, he taught jazz drumming workshops and master classes in Berlin (Drumtrainer) and Vienna (Konservatorium Wien)



"The Barry" awarded to him in 2005 by Barry Harris "For True Jazz Mastery."


February 06, 2024

Documentary: Jimmy Wormworth, 2015

December 20, 2015

Jimmy Wormworth's Camera

"Jimmy Wormworth evinces a quality that is in short supply among contemporary drummers, and that is restraint." Jack Bowers's review of Float Like a Butterfly on allaboutjazz.com "...drummer Jimmy Wormworth sizzles with an aggressiveness that brings to mind the late Art Taylor." John Vincent Barron's review of Land of Dreams "Jimmy Wormworth is a powerful drummer, whose boundless energy is not easily contained in any room, and who exemplifies the same kind of ageless musicality as [Charles] Davis." Luke Kaven's liner notes for Land of Dreams

Primary Instrument



New York City

Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


Taught jazz drum workshops, lessons and master classes at Drumtrainer Berlin, Berlin public music schools, Konservatorium Wien (Vienna Conservatory), Begues Jazz Camp in Spain.




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