Interview: Billy Taylor (Part 5) - JazzWax

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April 10, 2009


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Mike Milner

Fantastic interview, absolutely first class. My son was just asking me how many people from the 52nd Street era in New York were still alive, so your series of interviews with Mr. Taylor are very timely.
I particularly enjoyed the portion of the interview where Lucky Thompson was mentioned. I have always loved his playing. My personal favorite recordings featuring Lucky include his sessions with Miles on the 2 tunes "Walkin'" and "Blue & Boogie" (from the Prestige issued "Miles Davis All Stars"), and with Oscar Pettiford from "The Complete 1956 & 1957 Big Band Studio Recordings". I would dearly love to acquire a copy of his album "Tricotism", unfortunately it is out of print and unavailable on iTunes. Any help would be appreciated!
I look forward to purchasing some of Mr. Taylor's recordings from iTunes.

Ed Leimbacher

re: Billy T.--great lengthy portrait in words, the guy's lived long and played well. yet he's one of the cheated; too intelligent and settled and solid, not distinctively strange, or definitively innovative, or too-young-dead to be acclaimed. (or so i interpret the silence attending this excellent five.) meanwhile, scuttlebutt re: Lucky T--he was not so lucky ever, finally gave up on the music biz, moved to Seattle where he was living hard, on the streets for a while, wound up in a hospital/old home set-up where he refused to talk to those who tried, and then finally died an unhappy, unlucky, sadly mostly forgotten but still great tenor. Lucky or Billy? Billy or Lucky? why can't the world reward both?

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  • Marc Myers writes on music and the arts for The Wall Street Journal. He is author of "Why Jazz Happened" (Univ. of Calif. Press). Founded in 2007, JazzWax was named the 2015 "Blog of the Year" by the Jazz Journalists Association.
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