|Born||Irene Joy Gibbons
January 22, 1895
St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America
|Died||October 31, 1977
Mineola, New York, United States of America
|Other names||Irene Gibbons|
|Years active||1930s-1940s, 1960s-1970s|
|Spouse(s)||Clarence Williams; one son|
Life and career
Born Irene Joy Gibbons in St. Louis, Missouri, on stage from the age of three, Taylor toured New Zealand, Australia and Europe before her teens. She also toured extensively with the "Josephine Gassman and Her Pickaninnies" vaudeville act. She settled in New York by 1920. There she established herself as a performer in Harlem nightspots. Within a year she wed Clarence Williams, a producer (hired by Okeh Records), publisher, and piano player. The newlyweds worked together on radio and recordings. The couple recorded together through 1930s. Their legacy includes numbers made as the group Blue Five in the mid-1920s, which included jazz clarinetist/saxophonist Sidney Bechet, trumpet virtuoso Louis Armstrong, and such singers as Sippie Wallace and Bessie Smith.
In 1922 Taylor made her first record for the African-American owned Black Swan Records, who billed her as "The Dixie Nightingale." She would continue to record dozens of blues, jazz and popular sides for Okeh and Columbia throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Although she adopted the stage name of Eva Taylor, she also worked under her birth name in 'Irene Gibbons and her Jazz Band'.
She was part of The Charleston Chasers, the name given to a few all-star studio ensembles who recorded between 1925 and 1930. In 1927, Eva Taylor appeared on Broadway in Bottomland, a musical written and produced by her husband, lasted for twenty-one performances. During 1929 Eva had her own radio show on NBC's Cavalcade, then worked for many years on radio WOR, New York (guesting on Paul Whiteman's radio show in 1932). Taylor stopped performing during the 1940s, but returned in the mid-1960s following her husband's death, touring throughout Europe.
Eva Taylor died from cancer in 1977 in Mineola, New York. She was interred next to her husband, Clarence Williams, under the name of Irene Joy Williams in Saint Charles Cemetery, Farmingdale, New York. Their son, Clarence Williams, Jr. (1923–1976), who predeceased his mother by one year, was the father of actor Clarence Williams III. Their daughter Joy Williams (1931-1970) was a singer-actress under stage name Irene Williams.
|1997||Edison Laterals 4||Jazz, Blues||Diamond Cut|
|1996||Not Just the Blues||Jazz, Blues||Pearl|
- Larkin, Colin. The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Guinness, page 4498, (1995) - ISBN 1-56159-176-9
- Fairweather, Digby. The Rough Guide to Jazz, Rough Guides, pg. 864, (2004); ISBN 1-84353-256-5
- Vladimir, Bogdanov. All Music Guide to the Blues: The Definitive Guide to the Blues, Backbeat Books, pg. 373, (2003); ISBN 0-87930-736-6
- Stearns, Marshall Winslow. Jazz Dance: The Story of American Vernacular Dance, Da Capo Press, pg. 150, (1999); ISBN 0-306-80553-7
- Cavalcade was broadcast over NBC
- Chilton, John. Who's who of Jazz: Storyville to Swing Street, Da Capo Press, pg. 326. (1985); ISBN 0-306-80243-0
- Find a Grave: Eva Taylor