Phil Hey is an American jazz drummer born in New York City. He has worked with Dewey Redman, Jay McShann, Mose Allison, Benny Carter, Charlie Rouse, Harold Land, Charlie Byrd, David “Fathead” Newman, Geoff Keezer, Mark Murphy, Benny Golson, Stacey Kent, and Kenny Barron.
Born in New York City, Hey grew up in Philadelphia and the St. Paul suburb of Roseville, Minnesota. He started his music study with mentor and legendary jazz drummer Ed Blackwell at the Creative Music Studio in New York in 1975. His relationship with Blackwell continued until Blackwell’s death in 1992. He has also studied with Floyd Thompson and Marv Dahlgren, the former principal percussionist of the Minnesota Orchestra. He considers the Beatles and 1960s rock groups early music influences. He also credits his parents and his childhood band instructor for their support and encouragement in pursuing a music career.
Hey performs with several groups and leads the Phil Hey Quartet with Tom Lewis on bass, Dave Hagedorn on vibraphone, and Phil Aaron on piano. The quartet’s album Subduction: Live at Artist’s Quarter (2005) was named Best Jazz CD of the Year by the Twin Cities alternative weekly newspaper City Pages. City Pages also named him 2006 Jazz Musician of the Year.
His first album, Let Them All Come with Pat Moriarty, was released in 1977 on the small private label Min Records. The cover art by Homer Lambrecht is featured in Freedom, Rhythm, and Sound, a compilation of a jazz album artwork by Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker. He has appeared on over 125 recordings and remains a first-call musician supporting regional recording artists as well as touring jazz artists. His jazz recordings include Von Freeman’s Live at The Dakota, Pete Whitman’s X-Tet Where’s When?, Tom Hubbard’s Tribute to Mingus, and Ed Berger’s I’m Glad There is You, all of which received four out of five star ratings by Down Beat magazine reviewers.