Jazz Insights: William “Billy” Osborne

William “Billy” Osborne came from a Providence family of highly gifted and talented musicians. Rhode Island long enjoyed the voice and piano of his oldest brother Clay “Clarence” Osborn, who passed away several years ago, and today,  Billy is always first to claim being the brother of the younger and very successful Jeffrey Osborne.

Billy was raised as a drummer and pianist, who at age 16 arrived in Manhattan. He was picked up by the Jimmy Giuffre Quartet, and became part of new modern jazz. Several magazines that recognized his talent named him “Best Jazz Drummer.”

Osborne played with many of the top New York performers, including John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. In 1990 he toured with Ray Charles as his arranger, composer and producer, and continued touring with him until Ray’s death in 2004.


Billy continues doing stints in Hollywood aamong others, and his voice and ivory skills keep the Osborne family of Rhode Island in front of musical audiences.