JAZZ’S VOICE, BILLY TAYLOR, DEAD AT 89
Pianist Billy Taylor, widely regarded as jazz’s most articulate spokesman, has died at age 89. “Before Wynton Marsalis, he was probably the most famous representative the jazz world ever had, a familiar presence on TV and radio, as well as the force behind jazz at the Kennedy Center in Washington,” jazz critic Will Friedwald wrote in today’s (Thursday) Wall Street Journal. “If he had limited himself to being a pianist, composer and trio leader like most of his colleagues he would still be celebrated as one of the major figures of the jazz piano. But Taylor went far beyond that.” From 1969-1972 he served as the conductor on Westinghouse’s syndicated The David Frost show, the first African-American conductor on a U.S. TV series. He also regularly commented on jazz for CBS Sunday Morning and hosted NPR’s Taylor Made Piano, Jazz Alive, and Billy Taylor’s Jazz at the Kennedy Center.