• Taylor's Take Nine: With Gary on Big Ben and Mary Lou

    July 25, 2011. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Add new comment | Filed under: billy taylor

    The following is the ninth in our series of tributes to Dr. Billy Taylor, part of our birthday celebration of "Doctor T," who would have turned ninety this Sunday, July 24. Check wbgo.org/billytaylor for our full tribute page, which includes more clips and our exclusive webcast of Billy Taylor: A Life In Jazz, a new video documentary by Bret Primack.

    Take Nine: Billy with Gary on Big Ben and Mary Lou

    Gary Walker had the good fortune to interview Dr. Billy Taylor several times in the WBGO studios over the years. Even better, the pair nearly always sat at the piano for these conversations, which are peppered with Dr. T's spontaneous musical observations and memories.

    Gary Walker
    Gary Walker

    In an earlier post, we presented Taylor's 2009 tribute to his friend and mentor Art Tatum. In this 1995 conversation, Taylor speaks with Gary about his admiration for Mary Lou Williams, and how on his first night in New York, Ben Webster picked him out of the crowd of piano players at a jam session at Minton's Playhouse and hired him for his first big-city gig.

    "Billy Taylor was a treasure," Gary recalls. "His friendly demeanor demanded the understanding of a life enriched by the arts. His purpose took him around the world. How lucky we were that his home was jazz."

    To hear audio from this conversation, click on the link below. Enjoy!

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