Billy Taylor (July 24, 1921 – December 28, 2010) was an American jazz pianist, composer, broadcaster and educator. He was the Robert L. Jones Distinguished Professor of Music at East Carolina University in Greenville, and since 1994, he was the artistic director for jazz at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Taylor was a Jazz activist. He sat on the Honorary Founders Board of The Jazz Foundation of America. In 1989, Billy Taylor, Ann Ruckert, Herb Storfer and Phoebe Jacobs started The Jazz Foundation to save the homes and the lives of America's elderly jazz and blues musicians, later including musicians that survived Hurricane Katrina.
Billy Taylor was also one of the most foremost jazz educators. He lectured in colleges, served on panels and travelled worldwide as a jazz ambassador. Critic Leonard Feather once said, "It is almost indisputable that Dr. Billy Taylor is the world's foremost spokesman for jazz."