15 March 1929, New York City, New York, USA. A towering figure in post-war avant garde jazz, Taylor has been hailed as the greatest piano virtuoso of the twentieth century because of the phenomenal power, speed and intensity of his playing. We in black music think of the piano as a percussive instrument, he told writer John Litweiler, we beat the keyboard, we get inside the instrument... the physical force going into the making of black music - if that is misunderstood, it leads to screaming. Taylor grew up in Long Island, studying piano from the age of five and percussion (with a classical tutor) soon afterwards. He attended the New York College of Music and the New England Conservatory in Boston, though he later claimed he had learned more by listening to Duke Ellington records. Despite an early interest in European classical composers, especially Stravinsky, Taylors major influences come from the jazz tradition, notably big band...
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