Today is Billy Taylor's 88th birthday. Happy birthday, Billy! In 1982, the pianist who was mentored by Art Tatum, wrote a book called Billy Taylor: Jazz Piano in Jazz History. When I saw him several months ago, he graciously gave me a copy. Beautifully written, it's an authoritative historical analysis of the jazz piano from the perspective of a practitioner, insider and educator. Or, you might say, a working historian. What's more, Billy is one of the few jazz pianists who actually has mastered each style he writes about so eloquently.
Here's a paragraph from the book's introduction:
Amen. For more on Billy, see my five-part interview series here.
JazzWax clip: Here's a clip of Billy Taylor appearing on the 1958 TV show The Subject Is Jazz. The band joining Billy included Tony Scott on clarinet, Doc Severinsen on trumpet, Mundell Lowe on guitar, Jimmy Cleveland on trombone, Earl May, bass and Ed Thigpen on drums. The tune is Billy's composition, Early Bird...