Billy Taylor

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Billy Taylor 1977

Billy Taylor (born: William Taylor Jr. * 24. July 1921 in Greenville , North Carolina ; † 28. December 2010 in New York City ) was an influential American jazz - pianist and TV and radio presenter of jazz music, University professor and composer .

Live and act

Billy Taylor's father was a dentist and his mother a teacher. He grew up in Raleigh, Virginia and Washington, DC and did his BS in music in 1942 at Virginia State College , came to New York in 1943 and played the piano professionally from 1944, first in the Ben Webster quartet in New York , then with Stuff Smith ( Recorded 1944), Eddie South , Cozy Cole , Machito and Slam Stewart . Later he was "house pianist" in Birdland and played there a. a. with Charlie Parker , Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis . His Town Hall appearance in 1945 in the quartet of Bill Coleman , who appeared with Commodore , caused a stir . With Don Redman he went on a European tour in 1946; In the late 1940s he led his own trio. With Charles Mingus he recorded pieces in a duo in the summer of 1953 ( Bass-ically speaking , republished in Charles Mingus: The Complete Debut Recordings ); after that he had his own groups. In 1965 he founded the Jazzmobile ; Since then, summer concerts and workshops ("Music Clinics") have been held in Harlem (and all of New York) under this name .

In 1956 he worked on Quincy Jones ' debut album This Is How I Feel About Jazz . In 1958 he was musical director of the first TV series about jazz, The Subject Is Jazz at NBC . He became the first African American to lead a television band on the David Frost show in 1969 . In the 1970s he had the radio series Jazz alive , from 1981 he headed the jazz corner on the successful show CBS Sunday Morning . He was a jazz consultant at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC

As a pianist, Taylor played in both bop and swing idioms. One of his best known compositions is "I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel to Be Free)" from 1954, which gained popularity in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s and which, among other things, became popular. a. interpreted by Nina Simone (on Silk and Soul 1967). With Mieko Hirota he performed at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1967 (" Sunny "; released on the joint album Miko in New York ). In 1973 he wrote the "Suite for Jazz Piano and Orchestra".

In 1975 Taylor received his PhD in Education from the University of Massachusetts . He was then a professor of music at East Carolina University in Greenville , North Carolina . He died of a heart attack on December 28, 2010, at the age of 89 in a New York hospital .


Taylor has received numerous (23) honorary doctorates. He received an Emmy and a Grammy ; 1988 the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship and 1992 the National Medal of Arts .

Discography (selection)

  • Cross-Section (OJC, 1953–54)
  • A Touch of Taylor ( Prestige , 1955)
  • Billy Taylor With Four Flutes (OJC, 1959)
  • You Tempt Me (Taylor-Made, 1985)
  • White Nights And Jazz In Leningrad (Taylor-Made, 1988)
  • Solo (Taylor-Made, 1988)
  • Billy Taylor And The Jazzmobile All Stars (Taylor-Made, 1989)
  • Dr. T (GRP, 1992) with Gerry Mulligan


Web links

Commons : Billy Taylor  - album with pictures, videos and audio files