Jeff Hirshfield was born in New York City. He studied under Ed Soph. He worked for the Joffrey Ballet in 1976-77 and then played with Mose Allison (1977–79).
During the 1980s he worked with Red Rodney and Ira Sullivan (1981–85), Toshiko Akiyoshi (1986-89), and Bennie Wallace (1987–90).
Alongside Fred Hersch and Steve LaSpina, he was a member of the trio Etc. during 1988-91. During this time he also played in a trio with Hersch and Michael Formanek. From 1990 he played with Harold Danko, played in Formanek's Wide Open Spaces project, and played again with LaSpina in a quartet setting.
He also worked in a quartet with John Abercrombie and Andy LaVerne early in the 1990s. In the mid-1990s he played in a trio with Marc Copland and Dieter Ilg (1992–95), another trio with Tim Berne and Formanek (1993–94), and the Lan Xang ensemble with David Binney, Donny McCaslin, and Scott Colley (after 1995).
performance and recording credits include:
Jim Hall, Toots Thielemans, Charlie Mariano,
Joe Lovano, Red Rodney-Ira Sullivan, Kenny Wheeler, John Abercrombie, Dr. John, Jerry Bergonzi,
Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Orchestra, John Taylor, Randy Brecker, John Zorn, Mose Allison,
Bennie Wallace, Bob Brookmeyer, Paul Bley, Eliane Elias, Mike Mainieri, Gary Peacock, Tim Berne,
Woody Herman Orchestra, Tom Harrell, Fred Hersch, Mike Stern, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Joe Diorio, Bob Belden,
Joey Calderazzo, Eddie Daniels, Bob Berg, James Moody, Harold Danko, Ray Anderson, Tal Farlow,
Marc Copland, Dave Liebman, David Binney, George Garzone, Michael Formanek, Loren Stillman, Jamie Baum, Daniel Schnyder, Ed Simon, Ben Monder, Greg Osby, John Lewis, Tim Hagans, Chris Potter, Slide Hampton,
Joe Henderson, Rich Perry, Jazz Composers Collective, George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band, Wayne Krantz,
Frank Kimbrough, Bill Frisell, George Colligan, Adam Rogers, U.S. State Department Jazz Ambassadors, Dieter lIg, John O’Gallagher, Benny Golson and many others.
Extensive touring in the U.S., Europe, Japan, South America, Australia, Israel, India, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Performing in many of the major jazz and music festivals around the world.
He has performed on over 270 recordings.
Conducted clinics and master classes with a focus on musicality and listening in Europe, South America, Australia, India, Nepal, Thailand, Canada, Japan and extensively in the U.S.. Including the Univ.of Indiana, Berklee College of Music, Eastman School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, New York University, Houston School of Performing Arts, Houston Community College, Univ. of Tennessee, Missouri State Univ., Univ. of New Hampshire, Musicians Union (Buenos Aires, Argentina), William Patterson College, Univ. of Illinois, Univ. of Iowa, Univ. of Maine, Belmont College (Nashville), New School University, Univ. of Wisconsin, Univ. of Alabama, Univ. of Alaska, Oulunlcylan Conservatory (Helsinki), Norrbotten Big Band (Lulea, Sweden), Veneto Jazz Workshop (Italy), New England Conservatory, El Taller (Barcelona), Goucher College, Univ. of Memphis, Weimar Conservatory (Germany), Sebelius Institute (Helsinki), Mahidol University (Bangkok), San Jacento College, Simon's Rock College, NOCCA (New Orleans), UNICA (Maracaibo, Venezuela), Outpost (Albuquerque), Univ. of Colorado, Calgary Jazz Fest., Litchfield Jazz Festival Music School and the Sydney Conservatory of Music (Australia).
"If I were a soloist, I'd love to have him playing behind me."
"Hirshfield, a drummer with endless capacity for innovation."
"Hirshfield dances on the drums"
“Jeff Hirshfield played drums with total concentration, sensitivity and restraint all evening, always listening to the soloist and the other band members, always articulating the music of the total group sound. He could teach courses in empathy.”
The Live Music Report