Honorary Degree Recipient
Doctor of Humane Letters
University of Minnesota, Duluth, March 5, 2004
Billy Taylor has been at the forefront of the American Jazz world for over sixty years. He received national recognition in the 1940’s while performing with jazz greats such as Slam Stewart, Eddie South, Stuff Smith, Coleman Hawkins, Jo Jones and Roy Eldridge. During the 1950’s, he began a life-long interest in writing about jazz and giving lectures/clinics to music teachers interested in teaching jazz. He was named the musical director of the first TV series produced about jazz (1958), “The Subject is Jazz” on NET. He was also the musical director for “The David Frost Show.” It was during the 1970’s that he felt compelled to “organize his teaching materials,” so he enrolled at the University of Massachusetts at Amhurst where he completed a M.A. and Ph.D. in music education. He has received a presidential appointment to the National Council for the Arts and was named Artistic Advisor for Jazz to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. In addition, he is the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees.
Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.