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Bill Taylor Jazz Trio opens Bright Star Season Sept. 18

 LA CROSSE, Wis—Distinguished jazz pianist, educator, composer, arranger, teacher, lecturer, and television and radio performer,  Dr. Billy Taylor, brings his trio to Viterbo College Sept. 18 for a Bright Star Season opener that should satisfy the appetite of jazz fans everywhere.

 The performance will be recorded by National Public Radio for later broadcast on its popular national program called Billy Taylor’s Jazz at the Kennedy Center.

 Versatile bassist Chip Jackson and drummer Steve Johns fill out  Taylor’s trio, but that’s not all. Joining Taylor as a special guest will be Andy Narell, a world renowned steel pan master who applies his unorthodox instrument to diverse musical settings which have never been tried before. This irrepressible combination promises a night of memorable music dedicated to jazz, the music that makes Billy Taylor live and breathe.

 Taylor, who is 78, has been performing and educating for more than 50 years. He serves as Artistic Advisor for Jazz at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center where he hosts the weekly NPR show bearing his name. In this interactive program, he performs with his Trio and invites a guest artist—this time Andy Narell—to "sit in" and field questions from the audience.

 Despite his age, Taylor, who has a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts, shows no signs of slowing down. He juggles an ambitious touring schedule with albums, lectures and appearances as an arts correspondent on CBS’s "Sunday Morning." His philosophy is simple: If it has to do with jazz, Billy Taylor makes the time to promote his life’s ambition and educate the public as well.

 As an author, he has written "Jazz Piano," several instructional piano books, and many articles for magazines such as Esquire, Down Beat and Keyboard. In July, 1992, President George Bush presented Taylor with the exclusive National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest award for distinguished accomplishments in the arts.

 Taylor has been a guest artist in the White House on seven different occasions and has participated in three State Department Tours. He is founder and past president of JAZZMOBILE, the unique ourtreach organization which produces concerts, clinics and brings jazz to thousands of people in free public performances. Taylor is a winner of many awards including two Peabodys, the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award.

 Scholarly pursuits aside, when Taylor hits the stage Sept. 18, anything is possible, particularly with the inclusion of Andy Narell as a guest performer. Narell has spent considerable time listening to and studying the musical styles of Trinidad, Cuba and Brazil which he incorporates into his performing.

 Tickets are available from the Viterbo College Box Office at 796-3100. Located in the Fine Arts Center, the Box Office is open from 11-5, Monday through Friday.

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