NEW YORK - A jazz pianist and composer who became one of the music form's most ardent promoters through radio, television and the landmark Jazzmobile arts venture has died in Manhattan. Billy Taylor was 89.
His wife, Theodora Taylor, said the cause of death was a heart attack. He died Tuesday night.
Although he had a noteworthy career as a musician, Billy Taylor was probably best known as a jazz advocate.
He was the first black to lead a television studio orchestra in the 1950s. He founded Jazzmobile in the 1960s to bring free music to urban followers. 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 Greenville, N.C.