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28 April 2009

Frankie Jaxon (1895 - 1944) jazz singer, female impersonator.

Frankie Jaxon was born in Montgomery, Alabama, orphaned and raised in Kansas City, Missouri.

At age 15 he became a singer. He worked in medicine shows in Texas and then worked regularly in Atlantic City, Chicago and later New York as a singer, comedian and female impersonator. He was known as “Half-Pint” because he was only 5’2” (1.57m).

He was a female impersonator in Harlem in the 1920s, at the same time as he was a jazz singer appearing with King Oliver, Tampa Red and Georgia Tom Dorsey.

He had a small part in the Duke Ellington film, Black and Tan, 1929.

In the 30s, he was often on radio with his band, the Quarts of Joy. The shows included bawdy humor, and Jaxon often played the women’s roles in the songs. He had a convincing female voice.

In 1941 he retired and worked for the Pentagon in Washington. In 1944 he died in a veterans hospital.

This YouTube clip is of the Midnight Rounders in Chicago on October 9, 1928 --- Frankie Jaxon on vocals.

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