Music: O.K., Billy!

Time: 1950. Scene: Birdland, the now defunct Manhattan cellar where the faithful gathered to hear the latest sounds of bebop. Backstage, the goings on were something less than harmonious, even for bop. The band was taking a vote. It seemed that the house pianist would not contribute to the group's heroin kitty. In fact, he was not interested in drugs at all. That would hardly do, and consequently Billy Taylor was voted out. "I don't know," recalls Taylor, "maybe they thought I was trying to give jazz a good name."

That was one of...

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