Billy Taylor, a Pitt County native, was a jazz pianist and composer who became one of the music form’s most ardent advocates through radio, television and the landmark Jazzmobile arts venture. William E. (Billy) Taylor, Jr. died Dec. 28, 2010 in New York City. He was born July 24, 1921 in Greenville, NC, the son of William E. Taylor, a dentist, and Antoinette Bacon, a school teacher. Billy Taylor, Jr. spent his early childhood in the Ayden-Grifton area before his parents moved to Washington, DC. He performed with all the jazz greats in the 1940’s and 50’s and had the “Billy Taylor Trio.” In 1958, Taylor was named artistic director for NBC’s “The Subject Is Jazz,“ the first network TV series devoted to the genre. He worked as a disc jockey in New York and created the “Jazzmobile,” a traveling stage for free summer concerts in New York City. Taylor went on to host television and NPR radio shows. From 1994 until his death, Dr. Taylor held the position of artistic advisor on jazz for the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. In later years Dr. Taylor worked as a music professor at ECU and in 2002 gave his name to ECU’s long-running jazz festival.