Greenville Native, Jazz Legend Dead At 89

Greenville native Billy Taylor, a jazz pianist and composer who became one of the music form's most ardent promoters through radio, television and the landmark Jazzmobile arts venture has died in Manhattan.

Taylor's wife, Theodora Taylor, said the cause of death was a heart attack. The 89-year-old Taylor died Tuesday night.

Though he had a noteworthy career as a musician, Billy Taylor was probably best known as a jazz advocate.

He was the first black to lead a television studio orchestra in the 1950s. He founded Jazzmobile in the 1960s to bring free music to urban followers. He was host of a popular jazz show on National Public Radio, and he profiled musicians for CBS' Sunday Morning show.

William Taylor was born July 24, 1921, in Greenville. He moved to Washington D.C. when he was five.

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  • by c-had Location: police state nc on Jan 3, 2011 at 06:21 PM
    If you know then you know.Some of the most significant contributions to music(and everything else) were made by underground cats.YES!, they did it for the love and not noterity.Real women & men.The current trend in music sickens me.If I have to subject myself to ONE more whiny_as@ so-called current rock song I may give up music altogether.JAZZ YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
  • by Anonymous on Dec 30, 2010 at 07:31 AM
    Wow, a nationally known Greenville, NC native and I never heard of him until he was dead. We, the people of Greenville and Pitt county need to do a better job at CELEBRATING the jewels and treasures we have in our own backyard. May he rest in peace.
  • by Iakovos Location: USA on Dec 29, 2010 at 06:46 PM
    Thanks Mr. Taylor your were a great Tarheel, the old north state was bless to have you God Bless you.
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