March 15, 1929 Cecil Percival Taylor, jazz pianist and poet, was born in New York City.
Taylor began playing piano at the age of six and studied at the New York College of Music and New England Conservatory.
He formed his own band and released his first recording, “Jazz Advance,” in 1956. In 1964, Taylor co-founded the Jazz Composers Guild to enhance the working possibilities of avant-garde jazz musicians. He began to perform solo concerts in the early 1970s, recording “Incident” (1973), “Silent Tongues” (1974), “For Olim” (1987), and “The Tree of Life” (1998).
Taylor was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973, inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1975, and awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1991. In 1990, he was designated a NEA Jazz Master, the highest honor the United States bestows on a jazz musician, by the National Endowment for the Arts. Taylor has recorded sparingly in the 2000s, including “Algonquin” and “Conquistador!” in 2004.
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