In a way, jazz is America’s classical music. And you can’t get a greater teacher than Billy Taylor. His book goes through different periods and different pianists. Because he was there, he could talk about the “cutting contests” Fats Waller and other stride pianists had with each other: “What’s wrong? Is your left hand broken?” It was like a meeting of jazz gladiators.
You can also see Bill talking with NY1’s Kristen Shaughnessy about Jazz in July.