Jazz Legend Myra Taylor Dies

American Jazz Museum Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Myra Taylor (February 24, 1917 – December 9, 2011) – An extremely talented and gifted artist who touched many lives during a long career.

The American Jazz Museum (AJM) offices were notified by telephone of  the passing of singer, actress, and songwriter, Myra Taylor.  Ms. Taylor will be remembered as an extremely talented and gifted artist who touched many lives during a long and productive career.

Myra Taylor (born February 24, 1917) was an American jazz singer, actress and songwriter from Kansas.  She began performing as a teen and continued performing well into her nineties.  Born in Bonner Springs, Kansas, Taylor’s family moved to Kansas City, Missouri and into the historic 18th and Vine area when she was a child.  Working as a housekeeper at age 14, she began dancing at the Sunset and Reno clubs on 12th Street.  Being underage, she actually entered some clubs by sneaking in through a rear window, and eventually attracted attention singing.

Ms. Taylor is an American Jazz Museum Lifetime Achievement Award (AJMLAA) recipient.  The class of AJMLAA recipients since the award’s inception is Ellis Marsalis, Nancy Wilson, Abbey Lincoln, Dr. Billy Taylor, Curtis Fuller, Jay McShann, Myra Taylor, Luqman Hamza, Ahmed Alaadeen, Clark Terry, Pearl Thuston-Brown, and Benny Golson.

“A positive force in the arts,” AJM CEO, Greg Carroll noted. “As a singer, Myra Taylor had a hit record with ‘The Spider and the Fly’ on the Mercury label.  She starred as Pearl in three episodes of the television series ‘The Jeffersons’ as well as other acting roles in several films.  Her performances as a member of ‘The Wild Women of Kansas City’ will be cherished,” Carroll concluded.

The mission of the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City is to celebrate and exhibit the experience of jazz as an original American art form through Performance, Education, Exhibition and Research.

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KC Studio covers the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts, and the artists, organizations and patrons that make Kansas City a vibrant center for arts and culture.

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