Freddy Taylor

Biography by

Coming out of New York City's Cotton Club scene during the outset of the '30s, Freddy Taylor was a skilled dancer. Like many from the vaudeville era, he was also likely to branch into comic skits and…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

Coming out of New York City's Cotton Club scene during the outset of the '30s, Freddy Taylor was a skilled dancer. Like many from the vaudeville era, he was also likely to branch into comic skits and other forms of on-stage distraction. Lucky Millinder's 1933 tour of Europe initiated a residency abroad that gobbled up much of the decade. During the Millinder trek, Taylor also wound up getting some trumpet lessons from the great Bill Coleman. He didn't stop there when it came to creative skills: references such as John Chilton's Who's Who in Jazz credit him with this impressive quartet: vocalist, trumpeter, guitarist, dancer. Bandleader could be added -- but despite the activities of the Freddy Taylor Orchestra, this artist's discography consists largely of appearances on Django Reinhardt records. In this context he is obviously controversial, although listeners all seem to agree that Taylor's vocals match real American know-how to Reinhardt's savoir-faire.

Beyond that, a Taylor vocal might be reviewed as "throwaway" by one pundit, "superb" by another. On guitar, he sat back and let Django take the solos. At any rate, he had not only the time but the place to interact with the Gypsy jazz master, Taylor's projects during his hiatus in France including taking over running a club in the artsy Montmartre neighborhood. Taylor's own group was also based for a period out of Rotterdam; he was also known to leave the band behind and work as a soloist throughout the Continent. During the '40s, Taylor came back to the United States. He is known to have continued performing through the late '60s. His versatility dazzles discographers to the point where he is commonly regarded as two different people, both of whom did all their recordings in the '30s. His orchestra was also known as Freddy Taylor & His Swing Men from Harlem.