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Dave Oliphant
Troy Floyd Shadowland Orchestra

Troy Floyd Shadowland Orchestra, Plaza Hotel, San Antonio, 1928.
Photograph by Crown Art Photo Company,
Duncan Schiedt Collection.

FLOYD, TROY (1901–1953). Jazz bandleader and instrumentalist Troy Floyd was born in Texas on January 5, 1901. Floyd led various jazz groups in San Antonio during the late 1920s and early 1930s. He played alto and tenor saxophone and clarinet. His first unit was a sextet that organized in 1924 and increased to nine pieces by 1926.

His band broadcast regularly on radio station HTSA from the Plaza Hotel in San Antonio, from which the group took the name Troy Floyd and His Plaza Hotel Orchestra when it recorded for the first time on March 14, 1928. This was one of the first black bands to record in Texas. Floyd's band also appeared at the Shadowland club, from which its 1928 recording of "Shadowland Blues" derived its title. Among the musicians in the Floyd bands were Claude "Benno" Kennedy, "a trumpeter with a considerable technique and freak style," and Siki Collins, an alto and soprano saxophonist who was praised by a number of his fellow sidemen. Kennedy organized his own band, the Oleanders, in 1927 and later left for California.

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In 1928 Floyd's band included trumpeter Don Albert, who later started a unit of his own which, in 1932, as "America's Greatest Swing Band," became the first group to use "swing" in its name. Also a member of the 1929 unit was Texas tenor saxophonist Herschel Evans, who recorded with the group its two-part "Dreamland Blues," on which Evans is said to take his first solo. Another Texas tenorist, Buddy Tate, joined the Floyd unit after the 1929 recording session, and in 1932 Texas trombonist George Corley also became a member of the group. But Floyd disbanded the same year.

A CD of all the recordings made by Floyd's bands includes, in addition to "Shadowland Blues" and "Dreamland Blues," a version of "Wabash Blues" that was not released until thirty years after it was made. Jazz critic Albert McCarthy has written that "the impression one receives from these records is that Floyd's was a proficient band with one or two good soloists . . . but that all in all it was undistinguished." Floyd worked in later years as a pool hall operator in San Diego, California. He died there on July 16, 1953.


Jazz in Texas, 1924–1930 (Timeless Records, CBC 1–033, 1997). Albert McCarthy, Big Band Jazz (New York: Putnam, 1974).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Dave Oliphant, "FLOYD, TROY," accessed June 07, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fflhp.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on October 1, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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