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Billy Taylor OK, Set to Play

After suffering a mild stroke this past January and taking time off to recuperate, pianist-composer-educator-King of all jazz media Dr. Billy Taylor has booked New York’s Blue Note for six nights of performance in late June with his longstanding trio with bassist Chip Jackson and drummer Winard Harper. Trumpeter Jon Faddis is scheduled as nearly weeklong run’s special guest.

The concerts run from June 24-29, and are hailed as Taylor’s return to public performance since the stroke, but he’s been sitting in with old friends like Clark Terry and Marian McPartland in recent weeks to polish his chops. “I feel strong,” Taylor says. “There’s a big difference between practicing alone and playing before an audience. The ambience makes all the difference. It builds confidence.”

If Taylor still needs that “ambience” to build his confidence, he’s one of the most modest men in music making. People love him. His hometown of Greenville, N.C. just honored him with a street in his name and the key to the city. He was also recently bestowed with honorary doctorates from George Washington University in Washington D.C. and the University of Michigan-Flint, where he delivered a commencement address on May 4.

And here’s a nice piece of Taylor trivia for supper-table discussion: The doctor stood before the suited masses at the New York Stock Exchange yesterday morning and rang the bell, opening another day of fun in buying and selling. The Dow was up 25.1 points at closing.

Info on the Blue Note concerts and how to get tickets is below, along with a few more scheduled Taylor concert dates. And note that the folks at Soundpost, Taylor’s label, are dipping into the doctor’s personal archival material for a future release of small groups and orchestra sessions, some featuring the Julliard String Quartet.

Blue Note concert info:

Billy Taylor Trio with special guest Jon Faddis, Tues.-Sun. June 24-29, 2003; show times at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.; $30 music charge at tables, and $20 at the bar; $5 drink minimum. The Blue Note is located at 131 West 3rd Street in beautiful New York City. For reservations, call 212-475-8592. bluenotejazz.com.

More concert dates:

July 7 – 18: University of Massachusetts, Annual Summer Educational Series

July 19: Hartford, Connecticut,

July 24-25: William Patterson College, Wayne, New Jersey, Birthday Celebration and Concert

Originally Published