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Billy Taylor, jazz musician and advocate, dies at 89

December 29, 2010 |  2:59 pm

Taylor Billy Taylor, a jazz pianist and composer who became one of jazz's most ardent promoters through radio, television and the landmark Jazzmobile arts venture, died Tuesday night in New York of a heart attack, according to his wife, Theodora Taylor. He was 89.

Though he had a noteworthy career as a musician, Billy Taylor was probably best known as a jazz advocate.

He was the first African American to lead a television studio orchestra in the 1950s. He founded Jazzmobile in the 1960s to take free music to the urban masses. He was host of a popular jazz show on National Public Radio. And he profiled musicians for CBS' "Sunday Morning" show.

William Taylor was born July 24, 1921, in Greensville, N.C.

-- Associated Press

Photo: Billy Taylor in 2006. Credit: Evan Agostini / Getty Images