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Jasper Taylor (1894-1964)Jasper Taylor (January 1, 1894-November 7, 1964) was an early Jazz percussionist. He left his home Texas as a teenager in 1912 playing drums with Young Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show and continued in show business playing in minstrel shows and in theatre pit bands. In 1913 he was in Memphis playing drums, xylophone and washboard in W.C. Handy’s Orchestra of Memphis and with Jelly Roll Morton.

In 1917 he relocated to Chicago and played in Clarence Jones’ Orchestra. He joined the military during World War I and served in France with the 365th Infantry Band. The 365th Infantry were nicknamed the “Buffalo Soldiers,” the enlisted personnel were almost entirely African-American soldiers from Texas and Oklahoma.

Returning to America after the war he found work with Will Marion Cook and with W.C. Handy in New York. In the early 1920s he returned to Chicago and worked and recorded with a variety of artists throughout the decade including Dave Peyton, Fess Williams, Clarence WilliamsTiny Parham, Jimmy O’Bryant and Freddie Keppard. During the Depression he was forced to leave the music business and he worked as a shoe repairman. In the 1940s he resumed his music career and played with a variety of artists in the Chicago area including Punch Miller, Natty Dominique and Lil Hardin-Armstrong. He died in 1964 in Chicago.

band or session leader

Original Washboard Band with Jasper Taylor Jasper Taylor and his State Street Boys


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