Heart Attack Fells Jazz Artist, Radio Fixture Dr. Billy Taylor
December 30, 2010 at 8:33 AM (PT)
Jazz pianist/composer and influential radio figure DR. BILLY TAYLOR has died of heart failure at 89. TAYLOR (along with the SUTTON family) formed INNER CITY BROADCASTING to purchase WLIB-WBLS/NEW YORK 40 years ago.
However, TAYLOR was better known as a Jazz artist. He began playing professionally in 1944; he would perform with the likes of BILLIE HOLIDAY, MILES DAVIS and CHARLIE PARKER, among many others. He also wrote the civil rights anthem "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free."
TAYLOR was awarded an Emmy, a Grammy, a U.S. National Medal of Arts, two Peabody Awards, a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award. Since 1994, he served as artistic director for jazz at the KENNEDY CENTER.
On to of all that TAYLOR was a regular fixture on NPR.