Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jazz Pianist Billy Taylor, Rest in Peace


Legendary jazz pianist, composer and educator Dr. Billy Taylor died on December 28, 2010 at age 89.  He was long admired throughout his career as an innovative musician who composed over 300 tunes.

Taylor had an illustrious career as a jazz pianist, getting his start with the Ben Webster Quartet in New York City, and was later the house pianist for the famous Birdland Jazz Club, sitting in Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and others.

Dr. Taylor has long been associated with the Music Department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he got his masters and Ph.D in education.  In 1982, Billy helped found the Jazz in July program at UMass/Amherst, combining master classes, mentorship and live performances by esteemed faculty members and invited guests.

National Public Radio has a thorough tribute to Taylor, who was a longtime host of Jazz Alive on NPR stations.  The New York Times also wrote a feature story on Taylor's life.

For year round jazz in Massachusetts, visit MassJazz.com.

For tourist information, visit MassVacation.com.

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