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Billy Taylor Honored in NYC

New York City’s Bank Street College of Education presented Dr. Billy Taylor with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters on May 25, 2004. The honor—which is pianist Taylor’s 23rd honorary degree to date—was presented by the school’s faculty and Board of Trustees to recognize Taylor’s contributions to the jazz world and his 50-plus years of service as an educator.

Taylor, an acclaimed jazz pianist, composer and educator, has released dozens of recordings and has worked with musicians like Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday and Charles Mingus. Playing piano professionally since 1944, Taylor got his break as the house pianist at Birdland in the 1940s. He began playing with his trio in the 1950s.

Taylor is recognized as a spokesman for jazz due to his regular appearances on CBS’ Sunday Morning program and his role in jazz radio, having hosted programs like Jazz Alive and Billy Taylor’s Jazz from the Kennedy Center. He serves as one of three jazz musicians appointed to the National Council of the Arts and as the Artistic Advisor to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C..

More information on Taylor can be found on his Web site,

Originally Published