Billy Taylor Meets Jelly Roll Morton

Billy Taylor

Taylor: July 24, 1921 – December 28, 2010

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Jazz pianist Billy Taylor recalls meeting an old-fashioned piano great.

Jelly Roll Morton, by then a very old ragtime pianist, was playing at a club on U Street in Washington, D.C. In his old age, says Taylor, Morton was “salty” and not easy “to get along with.”

But Morton quickly impressed the young musicians in his presence with his technical prowess and his ability to project, with just one piano, the sounds of an entire band.
 

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