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Billy Taylor

December 30, 2010

A very serious, and very good, jazz piano player, has died at the ripe old age of 89.

A pianist with impeccable technique and an elegant, almost self-effacing style, Dr. Taylor worked with some of the biggest names in jazz early in his career and later led a trio that worked regularly in New York nightclubs and recorded many albums. But he left his mark on jazz less as a musician than as a proselytizer, spreading the gospel of jazz as a serious art form in high school and college lectures, on radio and television, on government panels and foundation boards.

He also helped bring jazz to predominantly black neighborhoods with Jazzmobile, an organization he founded in 1965 to present free outdoor concerts by nationally known musicians at street corners and housing projects throughout New York City.

“I knew that jazz was not as familiar to young blacks as James Brown and the soul thing,” he told Barbara Campbell of The Times in 1971. “If you say to a young guy in Harlem Duke Ellington is great, he’s going to be skeptical until he has seen him on 127th Street.”

May he rest in Peace. Enjoy.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. jco permalink
    December 30, 2010 10:25 am

    RIP Billy.

  2. December 30, 2010 1:14 pm

    R.I.P. Billy Taylor.

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