Billy Drewes has been creating music, composing, performing and recording since the mid 1970s. His main instruments include soprano, alto and tenor saxophones, clarinets, flutes, drums, percussion and piano. Featured on over 150 CDs with performance credits worldwide, he continually searches out new avenues for creative expression.
Billy shares the stage with Joe Lavano, Bill Frisell, Paul Motian and Tonincho Horta at the venues from Egypt to Cuba, Israel to Africa, New York's Carnegie Hall to Albert Royal Hall in London.
In addition to his love of performing, he takes great interest in the education of college and high school students. Teaching music as a total art form. Billy participates in clinics and seminars around the world with the goal of extracting from gifted students their hidden talents for musical improvisation and composition.
It was clear at the early growth of Billy's musical career that his serious commitment to music could be manifested in the form of improvisation compositionally and while/when? performing. His creative imagery has been a huge part of the many concerts, recordings and multimedia projects throughout his career.
Billy Drewes was born on Long Island, New York in 1952. After a wonderful period of development in his years, he moved to Boston in 1970 where new areas of musical possibilities were defined. His intense involvement with many different avenues of music molded him into the creative artist he is today. While in Boston he worked with Tony Bennett, The Boston Symphony and Gary Burton. He also lead a number of his own bands.
A big move back to New York City in 1975 propelled him into new musical aquaintances such as Kenny Werner, John Scofield and Joe Lavano. Upon arriving in New York, he immediatly joined the bands of Lionel Hampton, Eddie Paimieri as well as other serious leaders. Soon after, he toured with Woody Herman doing ocncerts and clinics.
The creative energy of the late 70s was great for Billy and his wide circle of musical friends. The explosion of new ideas extended into the 80s at which time Billy joined Paul Motion's band, which included Joe Lovano and Bill Frisell. They toured Europe and the US and recorded the album, "PSALM" for ECM Records. This period lead to a musical relationship with Lyle Mays (of Pat Metheny's Band) with whom Billy performed concerts and recorded albums. New and exciting projects were now becoming part of a daily groove for Billy. The eclectic range of work kept things fresh and uplifting.
Billy became involved with Brazilian and Indian Music, performed and recorded for dance troupes; Nikolais Dance Company and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. In 1990 he joined the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. Billy wove classical music into a wide body of music that he composed and performed. He continued recording and touring with artists Herbie Hancock, Bill Frisell, Eddie Gomez, Randy Brecker, John Scofield, Tonincho Horta, John Abercrombie, Fred Hersch and Peter Erskine.