The Manchester Craftsmen Guild, in celebrating their 25th anniversary, payed tribute to jazz legend Billy Taylor.
Taylor is one of only three jazz musicians appointed to the National Council of the Arts and who has also served as the Artistic Advisor for Jazz to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He developed one acclaimed concert series after another including the Louis Armstrong Legacy Series and the annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival.
|TAYLOR TRIBUTE—From left: Norman Simmons, piano; Paul West, bass; Jimmy Owens, trumpet; Houston Person, saxophone; and David Gibson, drums
Taylor is also the recipient of two Peabody Awards, an Emmy Award, a Grammy Award and a host of prestigious and highly coveted prizes. This distinguished ambassador of the jazz community and the world at-large, was also a special friend and mentor to both Marty Ashby and Bill Strickland.
Billy Taylor performed the first concert at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild and marking his four appearances at MCG Jazz were his performances at the 10th and 20th anniversary celebrations. Along with Daphne Arnstein, Taylor made a tremendous contribution to bringing Jazz back to the community when he founded the Jazzmoblie, a unique outreach organization which produces summer outdoor concerts, workshops and clinics, lectures and demonstrations in public schools and programs for disadvantaged youth in inner cities.
All Jazzmoblie activities are free with both public and private funding. In honor of Taylor and in celebration of MCG Jazz’ 25th anniversary, long time collaborators and friends of his: Houston Person, Jimmy Owens and Norman Simmons joined with Jazzmobile to offer a heartfelt tribute. In the spirit of Jazzmobile’s mission of propagating jazz, Taylor protégés Christian Sands and Gerald Clayton opened the performance.