Freddie Taylor and His Jazz Men from Harlem

Singer, tap dancer and orchestra leader Freddie Taylor (or Freddy Taylor) was from New York but traveled to Paris with Lucky Millinder's orchestra in 1933. He stayed in Paris and eventually formed his own band, Freddie Taylor & His Swing Men From Harlem. There are only four known recordings with his band: two from March, 1935 (featured here) and two from April the same year. The latter recordings feature Django Reinhardt on guitar and are available on Fremeaux & Associes's Integrale CD series.

Viper's Dream was written by Taylor's tenor saxophonist Fletcher Allen. (In the 1930s, "viper" was slang for a person who smoked weed.) Django would record a better-known version with Quinette du Hot Club de France two years later.

Blue Drag was written by Russian-born composer Josef Myrow already in 1910. It was recorded by Earl Hines and His Orchestra and also by the Washboard Rhythm Kings in 1932. Django recorded an instrumental version of the song just one month after Freddie Taylor's rarer, vocal version.

Discographical data from The Jazz Discography by Tom Lord:

Freddie Taylor And His Swing Men From Harlem: Freddie Taylor (tp,vcl) Charlie Johnson (tp) Chester Lanier (cl,as,bar) Fletcher Allen (cl,ts,arr) John Ferrier (p) Oscar Aleman (g) Eugene d'Hellemmes (b) or Joe Riestra (b) William Diemer (d)

Paris, France, March, 1935
P77285    Blue Drag (ft vcl)    Ultraphone AP-1489
P77286    Viper's Dream                       -

EP source: Bill Coleman & Freddie Taylor (Pacific 91.607)

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