Clarence “Clay” Osborne
Clay Osborne was a crucial component of Rhode Island jazz culture for over four decades. A Providence native born in 1927 to the jazz artist Clarence “Legs” Osborne and a Hope High School graduate, Osborne was a jazz musician who specialized in vocals and piano. Before becoming an established musician, he sang in local church choirs like Pond St. Church. As part of the “Jay Clay Trio”–which inlcuded fellow jazz artists Jimmy Starks and James Berry–he performed all over Rhode Island for 25 years in venues like the Newport Jazz Festival. In 1997 and 1999, he received the Providence Phoenix Best Male Vocalist Award. He recently passed away in 2006 but his legacy lives on in the form of such tributes as the Clarence Osborne Scholarship Foundation, which offers scholarships to students pursuing music and arts-based education and supports community organizations that encourage music education for youth.
-written by Felicia Bevel
Image Source (Top): Dana Siles - Providence Phoenix - 1997