Interview: Billy Taylor (Part 1) - JazzWax

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April 06, 2009


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John H. Lee

I heard Billy Taylor recently at a concert at Virginia State University. Billy still has it.

Phil Pryor

Thanks again, Mike, for this, among many, excellent jazz articles. Billy Taylor was a simple and positive great man, who excelled himself, achieved much, influenced others and set standards, all while being friendly, open, generous and long-lived. In jazz, that's amazing. Great jazz heroes, in one study, died at average age of forty seven. It's been a tough, tragic, flawed, controversial art area, but we just love it. The influence of the great Art Tatum, once again, cannot be ignored, and, Billy Taylor shows the great benefits of following many principles of Art's instinctively as well as academically. These tracks sound fresh and lovely. Fancy hearing more of Charlie Smith, the lefty drummer who played with Bird and Diz on Hot House. All wonderful to reconsider. Phil Pryor.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of 55 More Songs," "Anatomy of a Song," "Rock Concert: An Oral History" and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax has won three Jazz Journalists Association awards.
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