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Ray Miller was the drummer of a sextet that included the legendary New Orleans trombonist Tom Brown from 1920 to 1923; they were known as his Black and White Melody Boys, recording for many labels without contributing much to recorded jazz. By 1927, however, the Ray Miller band had become a full-sized group, with considerable awareness of what jazz meant. This is particularly true of trombonist Ted Skiles, whose flexible playing is reminiscent of Miff Mole’s.Ray Miller Orchestra

As a rule, we do not agree with editing out vocals that are out of keeping with the music surrounding them, but Ray Miller’s on “I Ain’t Got Nobody” is so appalling in its apparent attempt to emulate Ted Lewis, Al Jolson and Irving Kaufman all at once that we felt it would spoil the general picture. The band has a vigorous attack, though some may feel that the insistent bass drum and unbridled trumpet heard on “Weary Blues” are harder to take than the work of their counterparts in other units.

by Brian Rust
(from the liner notes of The Chicago Hot Bands 1924 – 1928 on Timeless Records)

If you would like to order the Timeless Records’ CD of The Chicago Hot Bands 1924 – 1928 first look to Timeless Records. Thanks to Dave Bartholomew for his help with some of the recordings on this page.

ddd discography

TitleRecording DateRecording LocationCompany
Blue Baby10-2-1927Chicago, IllinoisBrunswick
I Ain’t Got Nobody
(Abel Baer / Samuel Lewis / Joseph Young)
10-2-1927Chicago, IllinoisBrunswick
Is She My Girl Friend?
(Jack Yellen / Milton Ager)
2-1-1928Chicago, IllinoisBrunswick
I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate
(A.J. Piron)
2-1-1928Chicago, IllinoisBrunswick
My Honey’s Lovin’ Arms
(Ruby Meyer)
2-1-1928Chicago, IllinoisBrunswick
(Klages / Quicksell)
2-1-1928Chicago, IllinoisBrunswick
Weary Blues
(Artie Matthews)
10-2-1927Chicago, IllinoisBrunswick
Yep! ‘Long About June10-2-1927Chicago, IllinoisBrunswick

Sam BirdDrums
Roland ChastainClarinet, Alto Saxophone
Mort ClavnerBanjo, Vocals
Connie ConradPiano
Bob JonesTrumpet
Andy MansfieldPiano
Ray MillerVocals, Director
Kenneth MillerViolin, Vocals
Ted SkilesTrombone
Cookie TranthamBass, Tuba, Vocals
Frank WagnerTenor Saxophone, Violin
Doug WellmanTrumpet


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