“Playing with Billy was like heaven. He was the greatest collaborator in the history of jazz. He played exactly right for you at exactly the right time. His dynamics were perfect, he balanced his energy off of your energy. It was the perfect ratio between his intensity and your intensity. I remember one time a friend of mine played with Billy. I said 'hey how was it playing with Higgins.' He said, 'you know I was expecting more energy.' I said, 'no man that's not the way it works. He plays off your energy. He your energy is low, he's not going to kick your ass.'
I did a month tour with Billy and Charlie Haden and every night was perfect. There wasn't one time where you thought; 'we'll he's not having a good night.' I've never experienced anything like that since. That consistently musical swinging creative reality. I could hear the harmony when he would play the drums.”
—Lew Tabackin on Billy Higgins