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Billy Taylor Celebrates 88 Years With Massive Online Video Archive, Concert

Billy Taylor
Dr. Billy Taylor

A pianist, composer, educator, broadcaster and all-around treasure, Dr. Billy Taylor turns 88 on July 24. To celebrate, his Web site now features-and this isn’t a typo-88 streaming videos, including performances, documentaries, TV interviews and other clips.

Taylor and “Jazz Video Guy” Bret Primack have over the last six years digitally transferred the pianist’s extensive video archives. This footage-everything from chats with Charlie Rose to such rarities as a ’50s TV spot where Taylor gets into character as Jelly Roll Morton-is featured alongside Primack’s own docs, including the half-hour-long Billy Taylor: American Hero from 2006. Especially priceless are the clips of Taylor with Mundell Lowe, Jimmy Cleveland and others on the seminal 1958 TV show The Subject Is Jazz. (Taylor was musical director for the program.)

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