Dr. Billy Taylor, respected pianist, composer, broadcaster and educator, would have been 91 today. In 1958 he was the musical director of an NBC television show, “The Subject Is Jazz.” Dr. Taylor founded Jazzmobile in 1965 to present free outdoor concerts by nationally known musicians at street corners and housing projects throughout New York City. He hosted NPR’s “Jazz Alive” in the late ’70s and “Billy Taylor’s Jazz at the Kennedy Center,” which remained in production until the fall of 2002.
“The thing that is making jazz healthy today is that people are coming out of other backgrounds – from rock, folk, from ethnic music. It’s changing the music, and for the better.” – Billy Taylor
Trumpeter Jon Faddis was born this day in 1953. He was 15 when he met the man who became his mentor and friend, Dizzy Gillespie. Faddis went on to direct the Dizzy Gillespie 70th Birthday Big Band and Dizzy’s United Nation Orchestra; from 1992 to 2002, he led the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. Faddis also led the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars and the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars Big Band and was appointed artistic director of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble. He teaches as a full-time faculty member at the Conservatory of Music, Purchase College-SUNY (where he is Artist-in-Residence, Professor & Director of Jazz Performance) and as a guest lecturer at Columbia College Chicago.
“He’s the best ever, including me!”–Dizzy Gillespie, referring to Jon Faddis