OBIT

Jazz Legend Billy Taylor Dies at 89

Jazz great Billy Taylor, who composed music as well as exposed the genre to a wider audience as a TV and radio broadcaster, died of heart failure Tuesday in New York. He was 89. Taylor began playing jazz professionally in 1944, and played with Ben Webster, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald. He composed over 300 songs, including the civil-rights anthem “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free.” Later he became a broadcaster on TV and radio, where he developed jazz programs, profiled musicians, and broadcast music across the U.S. The artistic director for jazz at the Kennedy Center for the performing arts since 1994, Taylor also taught jazz at Yale University and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.