[JPL] The Recording Academy Statement On Dr. Billy Taylor

Louis Erlanger louisx at myfairpoint.net
Tue Jan 4 14:07:48 EST 2011

A quick visit to Taylor's website  http://www.billytaylorjazz.com becomes an 
extended one when you start reading.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jazz Promo Services" <jazzpromo at earthlink.net>
To: <jazzproglist at jazzweek.com>
Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2011 1:40 PM
Subject: [JPL] The Recording Academy Statement On Dr. Billy Taylor

> http://top40-charts.com/news/Jazz/The-Recording-Academy-Statement-On-Dr.-Bil
> ly-Taylor/62300.html
> New York, NY (Top40 Charts/ Recording Academy) Recording Academy President
> Neil Portnw issued the following statement on the recently deceased Billy
> Taylor:
> "A highly acclaimed jazz pianist, composer, and educator, Dr. Billy Taylor
> was a distinguished ambassador of the jazz community. A Recording Academy
> Trustees Award recipient in 2005, his career spanned more than six decades
> and he played with such luminaries as MiLes Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and
> Charlie Parker.
> As an educator, he crusaded for greater recognition of jazz, the genre he
> loved and called 'America's classical music.' As artistic advisor for jazz
> at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, he helped to raise the
> genre's profile and bring it into the mainstream culture. His wide-ranging
> promotion and support of jazz came to overshadow his primary career as an
> artist and performer, but his outstanding accomplishments and passion for
> the music he loved has created a timeless legacy that will continue to 
> have
> a far-reaching impact on generations to come.
> The jazz world has lost one of its most ardent advocates, and our deepest
> condolences go out to his family, friends, fans, and all who benefited 
> from
> his artistry and his knowledge of and devotion to 'America's music.'"
> Dr. Billy Taylor, a Jazz pianist, composer, educator and broadcaster who
> encompassed that rare combination of creativity, intelligence, vision,
> commitment and leadership, qualities that made him one of our most 
> cherished
> National Treasures, died in New York on December 28, 2010. He was 89 and
> lived in Riverdale, New York.
> The cause was heart failure, according to his daughter, Kim 
> Taylor-Thompson.
> The distinguished ambassador of the jazz community to the world-at-large,
> Dr. Billy Taylor's recording career spanned over six decades. He also
> composed over three hundred and fifty songs, as well as works for theatre,
> dance and symphony orchestras.
> Among his most notable works is "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be
> Free", achieving great popularity with Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s
> and 1960s. Nina Simone covered the song in her 1967 album Silk and Soul, 
> and
> the song continues to be recorded by many artists worldwide, most recently
> by Levon Helm.
> Playing the piano professionally since 1944, he got his start with Ben
> Webster's Quartet on New York's famed 52nd Street. He then served as the
> house pianist at Birdland, the legendary jazz club where he performed with
> such celebrated masters as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and MiLes 
> Davis.
> Starting in the 1950s, Billy Taylor ked his own Trio, as well as performed
> with the most influential jazz musicians of the twentieth century.
> After many years of recording for leading record labels, in 1989, Taylor
> started his own "Taylor Made" record label to document his own music,
> releasing four albums, and in the late 90s, "Soundpost Records," releasing
> his two final recordings.
> Dr. Taylor was not only been an influential musician, but a highly 
> regarded
> teacher as well, receiving his Masters and Doctorate in Music Education 
> from
> the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and serving as a Duke Ellington
> Fellow at Yale University.
> He also hosted and programmed such radio stations WLIB and WNEW in New 
> York,
> and several award winning series for National Public Radio. In the early
> 1980s, Taylor became the arts correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning.
> Dr. Billy Taylor was one of only three jazz musicians appointed to the
> National Council of the Arts, and also served as the Artistic Advisor for
> Jazz to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where he developed one
> acclaimed concert series after another including the Louis Armstrong 
> Legacy
> series, and the annual Mary Lou WilliamsWomen in Jazz Festival.
> With over twenty three honorary doctoral degrees, Dr. Billy Taylor was 
> also
> the recipient of two Peabody Awards, an Emmy, a Grammy and a host of
> prestigious and highly coveted prizes, such as the National Medal of Arts,
> the Tiffany Award, a Lifetime achievement Award from Downbeat Magazine, 
> and,
> election to the Hall of Fame for the International Association for Jazz
> Education.
> Dr. Taylor's survivors include his wife, Theodora and his daughter, Kim
> Taylor-Thompson. A son, Duane, passed away in 1988.
> http://www.billytaylorjazz.com
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