Posted at 2:19 PM on December 29, 2010
by John Birge
Filed under: Musician stories
Billy Taylor died yesterday. He would have been 90 years young in July.
As the New York Times obituary affirms, he was so much more than a jazz pianist and composer. He was also a teacher, television producer, civil rights activist, friend to Dr. Martin Luther King. He was also a jazz disc jockey who helped keep the peace in New York City in the wake of MLK's assassination.
I had the honor of talking with Billy Taylor in 2009 when he came to Minnesota to perform on the annual VocalEssence "Witness" concert. We had a pre-concert public conversation in the Ordway lobby. Billy also shared his fascinating story on the radio with MPR's Euan Kerr. You can hear that interview again here.
And enjoy Billy at his best -- at the piano -- here: