Announcements: Some Celebrations of Bix's Birthday

Announcements: Some Celebrations of Bix's Birthday

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

January 19th, 2006, 10:49 pm #1

In less than two months, Bix would have been 103 years old. There are several celebrations of Bix's music in March.

March 9-12, 2006 - Tribute to Bix.
Marriott Hotel, Racine, WI, USA
Featured 1920's - 30's Bands Include:
Buddy West, Alan Gresik, Dave Ramey's Deep Chicago Rhythm Owls
Jazz Site Tour of SouthEast Wisconsin
$500 Mystery Record Contest!
Late Nite Record spinning! Jam Session!
Lecture by Albert Haim: "Copying Bix."
Rare Label Souvenirs, Buttons & Birthday Cakes on Sunday!
Rare Jazz Films on big screen video

March 11, 2006 - The Big Bix Birthday Bash
Jazz in Bridgewater, North Bridge Street and Vogt Drive in Bridgewater, NJ
Jeff Hughes, New England's best Bix cornetist, with Dan Levinson, Conal Fowkes, John Gill, and Herb Gardner.

March 29, 2006 - Bix Beiderbecke Bash
Fine Arts Center at Ocean County College, Main Campus, College Drive, Toms River, New Jersey
Noted trumpet player Randy Reinhart salutes the birthday of jazz icon Bix Beiderbecke, the acclaimed “young man with a horn” whose innovative solos changed the way jazz was played. His all-stars include pianist Mark Shane, trombonist Herb Gardner, and more.

Albert
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Joan Wise
Joan Wise

January 29th, 2006, 11:20 pm #2

I hate to intrude but I believe my grandfather may have been THE Ray Miller of the 20's. Can someone help me? I have a trunk of his belongings - he died in 1974. In it is a 78 of Dixie Highway and Early in the Morning on the flipside. I know he led a band and did play the drums. He was a character. I was born in 1959 so I missed all this. Sadly, my mother died 20 years ago (1986) so I can't confirm this with her either. Ray married my grandmother in the 30's and adopted my mother and she took his name, Miller.

I have read that not much is known about him after he dropped out of the music scene at a young age.

Anyone please respond.

Sincerely,

Joan Wise
granddaughter of Pop Miller

always had a cigar and a hat
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Brad Kay
Brad Kay

January 30th, 2006, 11:30 pm #3

If your grandfather was THE Ray Miller, of 1920s Chicago bandleading fame, this is very good news. As far as I knew, RM disappeared without a trace sometime around 1930, the rumor being that he ran afoul of the Mob. I would like to think he survived into the '70s. Of course that would mean he escaped all interviewers, including Phil Evans, who would have loved to ask him about Bix.

There is an excellent Ray Miller CD on Timeless, detailing his life and work as we know it, and that of some of his famous sidemen.

Does Grandpa's trunk offer any further clues one way or another? Any letters or recollections? That 78 rpm record is a start, but it might prove only that gramps was amused to have a famous musical namesake.

-Brad Kay
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Fredrik Tersmeden
Fredrik Tersmeden

January 31st, 2006, 12:17 pm #4

Joan,

You might perhaps already know of it, but there are two photos of Ray Miller with his band at the Red Hot Jazz Archives site:

http://www.redhotjazz.com/millerinfo.html

and

http://www.redhotjazz.com/blackandwhiteinfo.html

Although I understand that you only met him as an older man you might perhaps still be able to recognize him in these earlier pictures?

Fredrik
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Albert Haim
Albert Haim

January 31st, 2006, 8:46 pm #5

I hate to intrude but I believe my grandfather may have been THE Ray Miller of the 20's. Can someone help me? I have a trunk of his belongings - he died in 1974. In it is a 78 of Dixie Highway and Early in the Morning on the flipside. I know he led a band and did play the drums. He was a character. I was born in 1959 so I missed all this. Sadly, my mother died 20 years ago (1986) so I can't confirm this with her either. Ray married my grandmother in the 30's and adopted my mother and she took his name, Miller.

I have read that not much is known about him after he dropped out of the music scene at a young age.

Anyone please respond.

Sincerely,

Joan Wise
granddaughter of Pop Miller

always had a cigar and a hat
Hello Joan,

Your post is very exciting as well as tantalizing!

Very little is known about Ray Miller. In fact, for most successful musicians of the 1920s, even if they left the field of popular music by the 1930s, we have at least a date and place of birth. Not for Ray Miller who had a series of great bands in the 1920s. The first bit of information we have have about Ray Miller is that he was a singing waiter in Chicago at Harry's James Casino Gardens in 1916, at the time the Original Dixieland Jazz Band appeared there. The ODJB moved to New York in 1917 and so did Ray Miller who for a while was leading a waltz band. Another bit of information is that his jazz band, the "Black and White Melody Boys" was hired by Ed Wynn for his show "Ed Wynn's Carnival" in the New Amsterdam Theatre in 1920. The 1920s was a period of great successes for Ray Miller. We have quite a bit of information about the recordings he made. Two CDs, devoted exclusively to Ray Miller's music, have been issued:

Timeless 1066 Ray Miller and His Brunswick Orchestra 1924-1929

Come On Red
Lots O'Mama
Mama's Gone, Good Bye
I Can't Get The One I Want
Red Hot Mama
Doodle-Doo-Doo
Me And The Boyfriend
Tessie
That's My Girl
Red Hot Henry Brown
Phoebe Snow
Spanish Shawl
I Want You To Want Me To Want You
I Ain't Got Nobody
Weary Blues
Is She My Girlfriend
I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate
Sorry
My Honey's Lovin' Arms
That's A Plenty
Angry
Cradle Of Love
Cradle Of Love
Harlem Madness

Swingtime 2008 Ray Miller and His Orchestra The Roaring Tewnties

Come On, Red (You Red Hot Devil Man)
Lots O' Mama
Mama's Gone, Goodbye
Where Is That Old Girl Of Mine
Red Hot Mama
Doodle-Doo-Doo
Me And The Boy Friend
Nobody Knows What A Red Head Mama Can Do
Tessie (Stop Teasin' Me)
That's My Girl
We're Back Together Again
Just A Little Drink
Red Hot Henry Brown
Phoebe Snow
Is She My Girl Friend
I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate
My Honey's Lovin' Arms
Mia Bella Rosa
Who Wouldn't Be Jealous Of You
That's A Plenty
Angry
Harlem Madness
Ain't You, Baby
Tell Me Who

There is overlap between these CDs.

There is also an LP of old radio transcriptions which were reissued in 1975 by Sunbeam Records, MFC-14, "The Sunny Meadows Radio Show - 1929." I believe you can even hear Ray Miller talking.

Now to the crucial question. Is your grandfather THE Ray Miller. My guess is that Ray Miller was born in Chicago in the late 19th century. Where and when was your grandfather born? If Chicago or vicinity, the case for you grandfather being THE Ray Miller would be strengthened. The comparison of photos suggested by Fredrik could be very useful. Do you have a copy of the Timeless CD? There is a photo of Ray Miller there. If you don't, I'll scan it for you. If you have only photos from a later time and a scanner, send me a scan and I would post it. Readers of the forum are sharp and observant, and could help you identify your grandfather as possibly THE Ray Miller.

Did your grandfather receive any royalty checks? The tune "In My Garden Of Memory" was composed by Buckely and Miller (I don't know if Ray Miller) and recorded by Ray Miller twice, in 1926 and 1929. The 1926 recording is available in the Red Hot Jazz Archive at
http://redhotjazz.com/miller.html
Maybe there are some papers about royalties in the trunk that could help.

Was your grandfather's full name Raymond? The ASCAP data base lists a Raymond Joseph Miller, but no compositions.

I do hope that your grandfather is THE Ray Miller. Let's see what else we can come up with.

Albert
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Joan Wise
Joan Wise

February 3rd, 2006, 4:56 pm #6

Joan,

You might perhaps already know of it, but there are two photos of Ray Miller with his band at the Red Hot Jazz Archives site:

http://www.redhotjazz.com/millerinfo.html

and

http://www.redhotjazz.com/blackandwhiteinfo.html

Although I understand that you only met him as an older man you might perhaps still be able to recognize him in these earlier pictures?

Fredrik
Dear Fredrik,

I have seen these 2 photos and it's hard to say. Thank you. The one with the band from 1923 seems to be him. I must mentally age and morph these photos as Pop was bald and extremely rotund, had a double chin. Pop had a big gap between his front teeth. When I blow up these pictures including one Ate sent, you can see a gap in RM's front teeth.

I have photos from the late 30's on. My brother recalls lots of 78 LP's at Pop's bungalow. He liked playing cards, cigars, had a hotel/bar in the 1940's, and liked dogs - big ones - Dobermans and Boxers.

I don't want to set up false hope but so far there is nothing to believe that this is NOT him. Somewhere there is a scrapbook and I'll try to get my hands on it.

Sincerely,
Joan Wise

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Joan Wise
Joan Wise

February 3rd, 2006, 5:03 pm #7

If your grandfather was THE Ray Miller, of 1920s Chicago bandleading fame, this is very good news. As far as I knew, RM disappeared without a trace sometime around 1930, the rumor being that he ran afoul of the Mob. I would like to think he survived into the '70s. Of course that would mean he escaped all interviewers, including Phil Evans, who would have loved to ask him about Bix.

There is an excellent Ray Miller CD on Timeless, detailing his life and work as we know it, and that of some of his famous sidemen.

Does Grandpa's trunk offer any further clues one way or another? Any letters or recollections? That 78 rpm record is a start, but it might prove only that gramps was amused to have a famous musical namesake.

-Brad Kay
Dear Mr. Kay,

Thank you for your answer. I will write to your AOL address as I don't want to cloud up this issue with what we all probably hope is the missing link to Ray Miller.

I will say I do believe it is he, my grandfather, who died in 1974, and we will get to the bottom of this.

Thanks for your interest. I also have wondered your point about "Pop" keeping an album by a famous musical namesake...........let's hope that's not the case.

Sincerely,


Joan Wise
Austin, TX
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Joan Wise
Joan Wise

February 4th, 2006, 12:50 am #8

If your grandfather was THE Ray Miller, of 1920s Chicago bandleading fame, this is very good news. As far as I knew, RM disappeared without a trace sometime around 1930, the rumor being that he ran afoul of the Mob. I would like to think he survived into the '70s. Of course that would mean he escaped all interviewers, including Phil Evans, who would have loved to ask him about Bix.

There is an excellent Ray Miller CD on Timeless, detailing his life and work as we know it, and that of some of his famous sidemen.

Does Grandpa's trunk offer any further clues one way or another? Any letters or recollections? That 78 rpm record is a start, but it might prove only that gramps was amused to have a famous musical namesake.

-Brad Kay
Gentlemen,

I found the scrapbook and he IS THE RAY MILLER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am very excited. I knew this man could not be forgotten. I had researched him earlier and found nothing.


Joan Wise
Austin, TX

jwise10617@aol.com
jwise@ercot.com
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Joan Wise
Joan Wise

February 4th, 2006, 12:57 am #9

Hello Joan,

Your post is very exciting as well as tantalizing!

Very little is known about Ray Miller. In fact, for most successful musicians of the 1920s, even if they left the field of popular music by the 1930s, we have at least a date and place of birth. Not for Ray Miller who had a series of great bands in the 1920s. The first bit of information we have have about Ray Miller is that he was a singing waiter in Chicago at Harry's James Casino Gardens in 1916, at the time the Original Dixieland Jazz Band appeared there. The ODJB moved to New York in 1917 and so did Ray Miller who for a while was leading a waltz band. Another bit of information is that his jazz band, the "Black and White Melody Boys" was hired by Ed Wynn for his show "Ed Wynn's Carnival" in the New Amsterdam Theatre in 1920. The 1920s was a period of great successes for Ray Miller. We have quite a bit of information about the recordings he made. Two CDs, devoted exclusively to Ray Miller's music, have been issued:

Timeless 1066 Ray Miller and His Brunswick Orchestra 1924-1929

Come On Red
Lots O'Mama
Mama's Gone, Good Bye
I Can't Get The One I Want
Red Hot Mama
Doodle-Doo-Doo
Me And The Boyfriend
Tessie
That's My Girl
Red Hot Henry Brown
Phoebe Snow
Spanish Shawl
I Want You To Want Me To Want You
I Ain't Got Nobody
Weary Blues
Is She My Girlfriend
I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate
Sorry
My Honey's Lovin' Arms
That's A Plenty
Angry
Cradle Of Love
Cradle Of Love
Harlem Madness

Swingtime 2008 Ray Miller and His Orchestra The Roaring Tewnties

Come On, Red (You Red Hot Devil Man)
Lots O' Mama
Mama's Gone, Goodbye
Where Is That Old Girl Of Mine
Red Hot Mama
Doodle-Doo-Doo
Me And The Boy Friend
Nobody Knows What A Red Head Mama Can Do
Tessie (Stop Teasin' Me)
That's My Girl
We're Back Together Again
Just A Little Drink
Red Hot Henry Brown
Phoebe Snow
Is She My Girl Friend
I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate
My Honey's Lovin' Arms
Mia Bella Rosa
Who Wouldn't Be Jealous Of You
That's A Plenty
Angry
Harlem Madness
Ain't You, Baby
Tell Me Who

There is overlap between these CDs.

There is also an LP of old radio transcriptions which were reissued in 1975 by Sunbeam Records, MFC-14, "The Sunny Meadows Radio Show - 1929." I believe you can even hear Ray Miller talking.

Now to the crucial question. Is your grandfather THE Ray Miller. My guess is that Ray Miller was born in Chicago in the late 19th century. Where and when was your grandfather born? If Chicago or vicinity, the case for you grandfather being THE Ray Miller would be strengthened. The comparison of photos suggested by Fredrik could be very useful. Do you have a copy of the Timeless CD? There is a photo of Ray Miller there. If you don't, I'll scan it for you. If you have only photos from a later time and a scanner, send me a scan and I would post it. Readers of the forum are sharp and observant, and could help you identify your grandfather as possibly THE Ray Miller.

Did your grandfather receive any royalty checks? The tune "In My Garden Of Memory" was composed by Buckely and Miller (I don't know if Ray Miller) and recorded by Ray Miller twice, in 1926 and 1929. The 1926 recording is available in the Red Hot Jazz Archive at
http://redhotjazz.com/miller.html
Maybe there are some papers about royalties in the trunk that could help.

Was your grandfather's full name Raymond? The ASCAP data base lists a Raymond Joseph Miller, but no compositions.

I do hope that your grandfather is THE Ray Miller. Let's see what else we can come up with.

Albert
Gentlemen,


I am thrilled to announce we have the same RAY MILLER! I have newspaper articles and programs and it seems he played alot in Florida probably in the late 20's. It is in shambles but readable and I can fill you in on 1930's to 1974.


Thank you all for responding when I wasn't sure. I'm telling you I have driven myself crazy today while at work. But I'm home now and found the hard evidence. Now it all fits.


CHEERS!!!!!!!

Jwise10617@aol.com
jwise@ercot.com
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Albert Haim
Albert Haim

February 4th, 2006, 1:48 pm #10

Congratulations, Joan. Your search was successful. Now we are looking forward to the documents and photos you have uncovered.

In the meantime, here are a few ads from the New York Times.

This is the first mention of Ray Miller in the NY Times.



Here is an ad for an appearance with Bee Palmer.



Here is an ad for an appearance with Al Jolson.



You can see that already in 1920, Ray Miller was pretty famous. He was appearing with Jolson, possibly the greatest entertainer of all times. In fact, Ray Miller made recordings with Al Jolson.

According to http://www.mainspringpress.com/AED-JOLSON.pdf,

New York: October 15, 1924 / Acc. Ray Miller & his Orchestra
13954/56 I’m Gonna Tramp, Tramp, Tramp
Brunswick 2743

Rust lists for Nov 1924, Al Jolson accompanied by Ray Miller and His Orchestra,
All Alone Br 2743
I'm Gonna Tramp, Tramp, Tramp -
Hello, 'Tucky Br 2763
Trouble's A Bubble -

According to the mainspring listing, the band in Nov 1924 was Carl Fenton. I wonder what the Jolson discography by Kiner and Evans tells us. I will look it up in the library on Monday.

Albert
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