Jazz drumming great Butch Miles has died at 78
Date Posted: 2023-02-15
The world is mourning the loss of one of the giants of Jazz. The gentle hearted yet fiercely swinging jazz/big band drummer Butch Miles passed away on February 2, 2023. Butch's storied career is rivaled by few. He had his first big break in 1971 when he was hired by Mel Torme. An even bigger break came in 1975 when on the recommendation of Torme and fellow drummer Buddy Rich, Miles was hired as a substitute for the Count Basie Orchestra. Apparently Butch already knew most of the arrangements from the records and Basie quickly decided to keep him full time. Butch's first stint with the band lasted until 1979 when he decided to join Dave Brubeck.
At this point, Butch was on nearly everyone's radar and appeared with countless names including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Woody Herman, Lena Horne, Clark Terry, Joe Williams, Benny Goodman, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Gerry Mulligan, and Zoot Sims just to name a few. He was also in the sights of the above-mentioned Buddy Rich who would often reference Butch in the context of a fierce rivalry. Miles said after Buddy Rich did this on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson it did wonders for his career. It was the kind of publicity that money couldn't buy.
Butch Miles was also considered one of the nicest, mild-mannered musicians in the business. I was personally privileged to experience this delightful disposition on a European tour back in 2014. His professionalism, however, was particularly striking. The tour occurred not long after Butch received a lung transplant due to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which left him tired and often gasping for air. He would take in portable oxygen during the intermission, but the audience had no idea. All they saw was a smiling, swinging, energetic drummer playing like no other drummer they had ever seen live. Butch loved putting his extraordinary talents on display and it showed. Video of this tour can be found on YouTube and it is astounding to watch knowing what he was dealing with health wise.
During his career Butch Miles recorded over 100 albums, and we here at GHB Jazzology are very proud to offer no less than 21 of these. The photo used for the cover of PCD-7173 "The Butch Miles Sextet- Salutes Gene Krupa" is prominently displayed in our office. Butch Miles will be sorely missed by all who knew him whether personally or through his remarkable music.
Lucien Barbarin (1956-2020)
Trombonist for Preservation Hall and Harry Connick Jr., dies at 63.
Ginger Baker (1939-2019)
Peter Edward 'Ginger' Baker was an English drummer known the world for his work with 1960s jazz and rock bands Cream and Blind Faith as well as his later work with African poly-rhythms and collaborations with Fela Kuti and Afro Beat music.
Marlene VerPlanck (1933-2018)
Marlene VerPlanck, who recorded 24 albums for Audiophile in a career that stretched sixty years back into the Swing Era, died January 14. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer back in November but continued to work until a few weeks ago even though the effort necessary to travel to the club and sing took everything out of her.
Wendell Eugene (1923-2017)
Trombonist Wendell Eugene, one of the last of New Orleans' Creole jazzmen, died October 12 at the age of 94.
Lionel Ferbos, the longest-tenured jazz trumpeter in New Orleans, dies at 103
Trumpeter Lionel Ferbos, who enjoyed a late-in-life celebrity as the oldest active jazz musician in New Orleans, died early Saturday, July 19. He celebrated his 103rd birthday two nights earlier, on July 17, at a party at the Palm Court Jazz Café, a favorite venue of his.
I Like (Ukulele) Ike - by Jon Pult
Clifton A. Edwards was born on June 14, 1895 in Hannibal, Missouri. He made hundreds of recordings over the course of his career...
Mat Domber, Arbors Records Founder, Dies
Label was launched in 1989 to preserve the sound of classic jazz
Happy 101st Birthday Lionel Ferbos
New Orleans native Lionel Ferbos has been playing the trumpet for well over seven decades. At 101-years-old on Tuesday, he'll perform at his birthday party!
UNCLE LIONEL R.I.P. (1931-2012)
One of New Orleans most favorite artists, Uncle Lionel Batiste, passed away Sunday morning, July 8. He was 81 years old and died after a short illness.
Carrie Smith (1925-2012)
Vocalist Carrie Smith, 86, died of cancer May 20 at the Booth Actors' Home, Englewood, NJ.
Joe Muranyi (1928-2012)
Clarinetist Joe Muranyi died of congestive heart failure in New York on April 30. Muranyi was best known as the clarinetist in the last version of Louis Armstrong's All-Stars.
We Mourn The Passing of Ernie Carson (1937-2012)
Cornetist Ernie Carson, one of the most prolific GHB/Jazzology artists, died January 9 in Portland OR.
Updated Postal Shipping Rates - Please Read!
We've made updates to our shipping rates and policies.
New Black Swan Label Sampler
Black Swan is the home of early rarities from the legendary Paramount label.
Jazzology is now on Facebook™
Follow us online at Facebook™ @ GHBJazzFoundation