Betty Loo Taylor

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Betty Loo Taylor (February 27, 1929 – December 21, 2016) was an American jazz pianist and musician, known as Hawaii's "First Lady of Jazz."[1] She was the subject of the 2003 documentary, They Call Her Lady Fingers: The Betty Loo Taylor Story, by husband-and-wife filmmakers, Patricia Gillespie and Sam Polson.[1][2]

Taylor was born on February 27, 1929, and showed a natural musical ability as a child.[1] She moved from Hawaii to New York City in the 1940s, where she attended music school and became a pianist.[1] She returned to Hawaii during the 1950s.[1]

Taylor performed regularly at the Trappers club in Waikiki during the 1970s and 1980s, alongside her longtime musical partner, singer Jimmy Borges, who also died in 2016.[1][3] She continued to perform at the Kahala Hotel & Resort on Oahu throughout the 1990s and 2000s.[1]

In 2008, Taylor won a 2008 Na Hoku Hanohano Award for a jazz album she recorded with Joy Abbott. In 2012, she was also awarded Na Hoku Hanohano's lifetime achievement award.[1]

Betty Loo Taylor died at Palolo Chinese Home in Honolulu on December 21, 2016, at the age of 87.[1] Taylor, who was being treated for pneumonia at the time, had suffered a stroke approximately six months before her death.[1] She was survived by her husband, Kenneth L. Taylor, and daughter, Karen Lindsey.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Genegabus, Jason (2016-12-21). "Hawaii's 'First Lady of Jazz' dies". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  2. ^ Berger, John (2003-11-02). "Lady Fingers: Local jazz artist Betty Loo Taylor is immortalized in a biographical documentary". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  3. ^ Uyeno, Kristine (2016-05-31). "Legendary entertainer Jimmy Borges dies after battle with cancer". KHON-TV. Retrieved 2016-12-29.