Billy Taylor Trio – Eddie Heywood Trio – Live 1956 – Past Daily Downbeat

Billy Taylor and his Trio from 1956
Billy Taylor and his Trio, holding court at The Composer Club In New York.

Billy Taylor Trio and Eddie Heywood Trio – Live from New York – May 7, 1956 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Billy Taylor and his Trio and Eddie Heywood and his trio, live from New York City and broadcast by NBC Radio on their All-Star Parade Of Bands series from 1956.

Starting with Billy Taylor, who went on to become a popular educator, composer and activist for Jazz music, appearing at The Composer Club on 58th Street in New York. Taylor, who grew up in a musical family, played several instruments before settling on Piano. He began his professional career in 1944 playing with Ben Webster’s Quartet and later with Machito and his Afro-Cuban band, where Taylor developed a great interest in Latin music. He later became house pianist at Birdland in New York, playing longer than any pianist at the club.

Early in the 1950s he started his career as composer, publishing a string of very successful songs, as well as becoming a regular broadcaster in various capacities, most notably as Music Director on NBC TV’s series The Subject Was Jazz, the first television program devoted to Jazz music.

But in addition to full schedules, Taylor also had time to work with his trio, turning out a prodigious quantity of albums throughout his career. This weekend, it’s Billy Taylor and his trio, performing at the legendary Composer Club in New York.

Sharing the bill, but not the stage, was another pianist, Eddie Heywood, who’s career started a decade before Taylor’s when he formed his own band in 1938, and accompanying Billie Holiday for her famous sessions for Commodore Records. Heywood continued, later forming his Sextet and having a string of popular records to his credit, as well as a million seller for his recording of Begin The Beguine in 1944. Heywood was stricken with partial paralysis in 1947, but he overcame it and made a successful comeback in 1951. His is probably best known for his composition Canadian Sunset, which was a multi-million seller for Hugo Winterhalter and His Orchestra in 1956.

This set, also from The Composer Club in May of 1956, features Heywood in an intimate setting, playing some of his big hits.

Two legends on the same program – doesn’t get much better than that.

Crank it up – relax and enjoy.

Eddie Heywood and his Trio
The inimitable Eddie Heywood.
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