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

If you would like to order the Timeless Records' CD of The Chicago Hot Bands 1924 1928 you can do so through Worlds Records or direct from Timeless Records. Thanks to Dave Bartholomew for his help with some of the recordings on this page.

Title Recording Date Recording Location Company
Blue Baby 10-2-1927 Chicago, Illinois Brunswick
3676
I Ain't Got Nobody
(Abel Baer / Samuel Lewis / Joseph Young)
10-2-1927 Chicago, Illinois Brunswick
3677
Is She My Girl Friend?
(Jack Yellen / Milton Ager)
2-1-1928 Chicago, Illinois Brunswick
3828
I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate
(A.J. Piron)
2-1-1928 Chicago, Illinois Brunswick
3828
My Honey's Lovin' Arms
(Ruby Meyer)
2-1-1928 Chicago, Illinois Brunswick
3827
Sorry
(Klages / Quicksell)
2-1-1928 Chicago, Illinois Brunswick
3827
Weary Blues
(Artie Matthews)
10-2-1927 Chicago, Illinois Brunswick
3677
Yep! 'Long About June 10-2-1927 Chicago, Illinois Brunswick
3676
Artist Instrument
Sam Bird Drums
Roland Chastain Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Mort Clavner Banjo, Vocals
Connie Conrad Piano
Bob Jones Trumpet
Andy Mansfield Piano
Ray Miller Vocals, Director
Karl Milles Violin, Vocals
Ted Skiles Trombone
Cookie Trantham Bass, Tuba, Vocals
Frank Wagner Tenor Saxophone, Violin
Doug Wellman Trumpet