Today, we salute Dr. Billy Taylor on his birthday (July 24, 1921 – December 28, 2010). He was truly a jazz ambassador. Playing the piano professionally since 1944, he got his start 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. Dr. Taylor has not only been an influential musician, but a highly regarded teacher as well. He hosted and programmed such radio stations WLIB and WNEW in New York, and award winning series for NPR. In the early 1980s, Taylor became the arts correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning. He was the Artistic Advisor for Jazz at the The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and started Jazzmobile. With over twenty three honorary doctoral degrees, Dr. Billy Taylor is also the recipient of two Peabody Awards, an Emmy, a Grammy Awards and a host of prestigious and highly coveted prizes, such as the National Medal of Arts and National Endowment for the Arts #JazzMaster.




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