The Giants of Jazz VIII, honoring Jazz Master Dr. Billy Taylor
Who: Jazz Master Dr. Billy Taylor, Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess, Benny Powell, Roy Hargrove, Junior Mance, Ronnie Mathews, Bucky Pizzarelli, Steve Davis, Don Braden, Bill Kirchner, Steve Davis, Douglas Purviance, Jason Jackson, Earl May, Chip Jackson, John Lee, Dennis Mackrel, Winard Harper, Duke Lee, Justin Robinson, Andre Hayward
Where: South Orange Middle School 70 Ridgewood Rd. South Orange, NJ 07079
When: Saturday, October 15 at 8pm
For the eighth consecutive year The Baird presents a one-night concert The New York Times hails as New Jersey’s “premier jazz festival.” Giants of Jazz VIII, a musical phenomenon, is happening Saturday, October 15, 8pm at the South Orange Middle School. This year's featured performer Jazz Masters Award recipient is Dr. Billy Taylor, who will be coming out of retirement to play for his special award night. In addition, dozens of other internationally recognized jazz musicians will honor him by play including Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Frank Wess, Benny Powell, Roy Hargrove, Junior Manse, Jimmy Heath and Bucky Pizzarelli.
A major presence in the recording and touring circuit, Taylor, is also a composer, teacher and lecturer, who has served as musical director for The David Frost Show, and Tony Brown’s Black Journal Tonight on PBS. In addition, he has hosted two popular NPR radio shows, Jazz Alive and Billy Taylor’s Jazz.
For more than six decades, Dr. Billy Taylor's enthusiastic and personal commitment to make jazz a part of the American mainstream have been rewarded by recognition and acclaim by his peers, critics, educators, students, enthusiastic listeners, and five US presidents.
In the early 1980's, Taylor was tapped by Charles Kuralt to become arts correspondent for the popular television program CBS Sunday Morning. During his twenty year plus tenure, he has profiled over 250 well-known and not-so-well-known members of the jazz community. In addition, Taylor received an Emmy Award for his profile on Quincy Jones.
Another measure of his success was the award of the 1988 Jazz Masters Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. This is presented to jazz masters whose careers have made a significant contribution to the art form in the African-American tradition and whose influence has been felt throughout the world, especially by young artists.
This sentiment was reiterated by the editors of DownBeat magazine who presented Dr. Billy Taylor with their Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984. Billy was cited for “striving to better the plight of jazz musicians everywhere, for helping to enlarge the audience for jazz and to educate that audience”
In 1964, Billy Taylor made a major contribution to bringing Jazz back to the community when he co-founded Jazzmobile, a unique outreach organization which produces summer outdoor concerts, conducts workshops and clinics; sponsors lectures / demonstrations and artists residencies.
To date, Billy Taylor has over 350 songs to his credit, including the popular, “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free”, which has been recorded by various artists and served as an anthem for the civil rights movement, as well as the music for a recent Coca-Cola commercial.
Throughout his life, Billy Taylor has played at all the top venues with all the major names in jazz including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Kai Winding, Jo Jones, Lester Young, Stan Getz, Milt Jackson, Art Blakey, Coleman Hawkings, Billy Holiday, Quincy Jones, Sonny Stitt...an obviously a Who’s Who in Jazz list.
For more information about Giants of Jazz VIII, go to www.thebaird.org or (973)378-7755. Tickets can be purchased online at http://southorange.recware.com or at various local venues: The Baird Center, 5 Mead St, South Orange; MailBoxes Etc, South Orange Avenue, South Orange or The Robin Hutchins Gallery, Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood. Ticket prices are $30/advance; $35 at door; $25 for students with ID and seniors.