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> Ray Miller, bandleader
popmiller
post Feb 20 2006, 02:28 PM
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Hi,

New here. Has anyone heard of the bandleader and recording artist Ray Miller from the 1920's? I'd like to find out any information on him since I have read there is not much known on him.

Joan
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laughland
post Feb 20 2006, 03:11 PM
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Welcome Joan!

See the redhotjazz site: they have this section on Ray Miller.

Or maybe you could check out American Big Bands Database.

Does that help?


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popmiller
post Feb 20 2006, 07:56 PM
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Yes, thanks, I have seen them. It's just that I am 99.9% sure he is my grandfather who died in 1974. My grandfather, J. Raymond Miller, made records a long time ago - 78's. By the time I was born this was long over with - I am 46 now. He was born in 1896. In fact, he only came into our family in the mid 1930's and in his scrapbook there is a newspaper article in which he states he retired from the music scene in 1933.

I wanted him to be remembered but I wasn't ready to find out he was very popular during 1920 to 1930 recording many 78's. The redhotjazz site says not much is known after 1930 and I know he lived until 1974 (outside the music business). I'd like to do more research on him to find out why he settled on living out his days in Reading, PA. My mother is dead 20 years and my father is also gone now. For some reason Pop Miller did not talk about his early days other than to say he made some records and played drums. ANY IDEAS for my next step?
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gregoryagogo
post Feb 20 2006, 09:05 PM
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Ray Miller is one of my favorite bands!

I love "My Honey's Lovin Arms" & "Is She My friend" the best!!

http:// jazz.com/Songs/miller/myhoneys.ram

http:// jazz.com/Songs/miller/isshemy...ygirlfriend.ram://http:// jazz.com/Songs/miller/...ygirlfriend.ram://http:// jazz.com/Songs/miller/...ygirlfriend.ram://http:// jazz.com/Songs/miller/...ygirlfriend.ram

There is such a bounce to his style! And the recording quality is just superb in these!



Love,
Gregory


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laughland
post Feb 20 2006, 09:38 PM
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QUOTE(popmiller @ Feb 20 2006, 02:56 PM)
...  ANY IDEAS for my next step?

First of all, that's an interesting story to be sure, and I wish you best with your search.

As far as ideas go, if there aren't any other living relatives with clues, you'll want to find some people elsewhere with useful information.
The guy who runs redhotjazz.com, Scott Alexander also has a group on Yahoo at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RedHotJazz - you could ask around there for people who might have connections. His page on your grandfather thanks some people (J.E. Knox, Marshall Philyaw and James Gallup) who might have investigated his past and have some information.

You could investigate any public records available on him in Reading Pa. They might give you details about his years there and even names of other people who knew him there. Also, I'd ask some nearby genealogy organizations for help. They know some ways to track down details on people.

Good luck!


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tferbe
post Feb 21 2006, 12:17 AM
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This is a long shot but you might try contacting the History Detectives show on P.B.S. They are really terrific in tracking down long lost archives & records. I think it might be worth a shot and who knows, if they pick your case your grandfathers legacy can get national attention.
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popmiller
post Feb 23 2006, 02:28 PM
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Thanks all! I am reading a couple different early jazz books and have been searching the internet and also listening to Ray's music reissued on CD. The earliest photos of Ray in my families photo albums are from 1935. I have much research ahead. I can't wait to get started. I'll keep all posted. He died in 1974 and I'd like to fill in missing pieces of his history. This has been great fun and an awesome discovery! Pop was always happy and smoking a cigar and I have no idea why he didn't say more about his early days in music. Thanks all.
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coonsanders
post Feb 24 2006, 11:02 PM
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hi

your related to ray miller?what a nifty band!good sound his.my personal favorite is coon/sanders but i do enjoy mr miller too.good luck.

coon/sanders
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dismuke
post Feb 25 2006, 09:54 PM
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QUOTE(popmiller @ Feb 20 2006, 01:56 PM)
Yes, thanks, I have seen them.  It's just that I am 99.9% sure he is my grandfather who died in 1974.  My grandfather, J. Raymond Miller, made records a long time ago - 78's.  By the time I was born this was long over with - I am 46 now.  He was born in 1896.  In fact, he only came into our family in the mid 1930's and in his scrapbook there is a newspaper article in which he states he retired from the music scene in 1933. 

Be sure to keep checking my Hit of the Week updates in the weeks ahead. Eddie The Collector will soon be coming back as a guest contributor and will feature what I think is an absolutely incredible recording by your grandfather's band. I have not finalized an exact date with Eddie for that particular update for sure - but at this point, based on the other updates that are "in queue, " it looks like it will be sometime in late March or early April.
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victrolajazz
post Feb 26 2006, 11:50 PM
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"Has anyone every heard of Ray Miller...?" ...what a question to ask record collectors! He had one of the lovliest sounds of that era and my personal favorite, not just of his records but of all 20's records, is a side he recorded in 1926, BR 3132 "Sign of the Rose", along with "Stomp Your Stuff". I have it on tape and I often replay the part over and over towards the end where the soprano saxophones play the chorus.

My long time record collector friend Mr. Gottlieb once told me that this song was the theme song of his radio show, and it would have been a good one. It's one of those songs not found on any other label as far as I can tell, I guess what you'd call an "obscure" song. I've had the record for many years and it has always fascinated me--it has no vocal and I'd always wondered what the lyrics would be. Imagine my surprise when, about 13 years ago, I found the sheet music amongst a huge collection of music in an antique shop in a tiny, out-of-the way town in east-central Texas. It fooled me at first because it was titled "By the Sign of the Rose", but it's absolutely the same song as I can read the score. Another puzzlement is that on the record someone named Edwards (Gus?), is credited with the song, but on the sheet music it shows words by Sammy Lerner and Billy Rose, music by Buddy Fields and Richard Whiting. I've many other Millers, a couple of his late 20's favorites being "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like my Sister Kate" and "Ain't You Baby".
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