Billy Taylor  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Billy Taylor (July 24, 1921 - December 28, 2010) was an American jazz pianist, composer, and educator.

In 1952, Taylor composed one of his most famous tunes, "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free", which achieved more popularity with the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Nina Simone covered the song in her 1967 album Silk & Soul. The tune is widely known in the UK as a piano instrumental version, used for BBC Television's long-running Film... programme. He made dozens of recordings in the 1950s and 1960s, including Billy Taylor Trio with Candido with Cuban percussionist Candido Camero, My Fair Lady Loves Jazz, Cross Section and Taylor Made Jazz.


As leader

  • 1945: Billy Taylor Piano (Savoy)
  • 1954: Cross-Section
  • 1956: Cross Section (Prestige)
  • 1957: My Fair Lady Loves (GRP)
  • 1959: Warming Up (Riverside)
  • 1959: Billy Uptown (Riverside)
  • 1959: Billy Taylor with Four Flutes (Riverside, with Herbie Mann, Jerome Richardson, Frank Wess)
  • 1962: Impromptu Mercury
  • 1977: Live at Storyville West 54
  • 1985: You Tempt Me (Taylor-Made)
  • 1988: White Nights And Jazz In Leningrad (Taylor-Made)
  • 1988: Solo (Taylor-Made)
  • 1989: Billy Taylor And The Jazzmobile All Stars (Taylor-Made)
  • 1991: White Nights and Jazz in Leningrad (Taylor-Made)
  • 1992: Dr. T (GRP) with Gerry Mulligan
  • 1992: Solo (Taylor-Made)
  • 1993: Live at MCG
  • 1993: Dr. T (GRP)
  • 1997: The Music Keeps Us Young (Arkadia Jazz, with Chip Jackson, Steve Johns)
  • 1998: Ten Fingers - One Voice Arkadia Jazz
  • 1999: Taylor Made at the Kennedy Center with Dee Dee Bridgewater Kennedy Center Jazz

As sideman

With Arkadia Jazz All Stars

  • Thank You, Duke!

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