Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Drewes, Billy (William)
Drewes, Billy (William), soprano sax, clarinet; b. Copague, NY, 1 October 1952. His brother Glenn (b. 1949) is an accomplished trumpeter. Their father Barry was a trumpeter. Billy started playing at age 9, later studying clarinet and saxophone at Berklee School of Music, Boston. Joined bands of Lionel Hampton (1975), Woody Herman (1977) and worked with Gary Burton, Bill DeArango, Paul Motian, Bobby Paunetto.
He formed Abladu with Ken Werner (1977-79). He's currently living and working in New York with numerous large and small groups. He has toured and recorded with Joe Lovano and Bill Frisell, and has recorded with Ron Carter. His other recordings include John Scofield, Lyle Mays, several with Kenny Werner, Steve LaSpina, Andy LaVerne, Brazilian masters Toninho Horta and Duduka De Fonseca. He has a long-term touring and recording history with Paul Motian, and with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra (going back on and off to the early 1980s).
He has also performed with the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra. Dave Douglas, Randy Brecker, Peter Erskine, Marcus Roberts, Fred Hersch, Eddie Palmieri, and many others. His playing has been featured in several film scores, including Golden Gate, Ty Cobb, and Bossa Nova. Billy teaches at the New School and the Manhattan School of Music.