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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.)

But video almost always pales in comparison to performance, and Taylor is scheduled to play a birthday-night trio gig at William Paterson University, where he is artist-in-residence. The show closes the university’s amazingly priced Summer Jazz Week, which begins tonight with a $4 concert by Mulgrew Miller. Information is below.

Dr. Billy Taylor with Chip Jackson, bass, and Winard Harper, drums

Shea Center for the Performing Arts, William Paterson University

July 24, 7:30 p.m.

For tickets call 973-720-2371 or click here

Originally Published