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Billy Taylor

Billy Taylor was such an articulate spokesman for jazz, and his profiles on CBS' Sunday Morning television program (where he was a regular beginning in 1981) were so successful at introducing jazz to a wider audience, that sometimes one could forget what a talented pianist he was for over half a century. While not an innovator, Taylor was flexible enough to play swing, bop, and more advanced styles while always retaining his own musical personality. After graduating from Virginia State College in 1942, he moved to New York and played with such major musicians as Ben Webster, Eddie South, Stuff Smith (with whom he recorded in 1944), and Slam Stewart, among others. In 1951, he was the house pianist at Birdland and soon afterward Taylor formed his first of many trios. He helped found the Jazzmobile in 1965; in 1969 he became the first black band director for a network television series (The David Frost Show); in 1975 he earned his doctorate at the University of Massachusetts; and he both founded and served as director for the popular radio program Jazz Alive. But despite his activities in jazz education, Taylor was rarely absent from performances and recordings, always keeping his bop-based style consistently swinging and fresh. He died of heart failure in New York on December 28, 2010, at the age of 89. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
full bio

Comments

ceyman
no one like him!
A great great great pianist and genius. Heard him live and he could play pieces and improvise like few others. Disagree with the writer, he was one of the few true innovators of jazz piano.
Sweet, sublime and perfect...
Will miss him dearly
There's a reason they call him the professor... . . w e l l , cause he is! Caught him three years back at the Vancouver "Lark in the Park"...ahhh , summertime.
Dr. Billy Taylor, mestre jazz piano, ontem hoje é sempre, muita qualidade musical, obrigado Billy.
mooyoo.77
r.i p. billy you brought a lot of joy to my young life, as well as now

THANKS BILLY
Billy Taylor has been dead only a month, and I'm impressed how quickly his bio was updated. Good work, Scott Yanow.
Doctor Billy Taylor - a scholar and a gentleman. Oh yeah, and one hell of a musician and teacher! BF.
dan.hutzley
Another jazz great has passed. Both his musical ability and as a dedicated spokesperson for jazz will be missed.
llnstoner
I listened to him in the 60s on WNEW in NY city. He only gets better!
Brilliant...
Billy Taylor taught a History of Jazz class I took for several semesters at CW Post College/LIU in the mid '70's. I'd arrive early to watch him play before class & always got a seat at the end of the piano. The highlight of my day. Great man...great soul....grea t talent.
great pianist, listened to his jazz alive program all the time .
nice change of pace....

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