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Lizzie Miles Vol. 1 (1922-1923)

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Album Review

A well-documented blues and vaudevillian singer in the 1920s, Lizzie Miles was off records after 1930 for over 20 years, except for eight selections cut on one day in 1939. This CD has her later "comeback" session, four songs cut for Rudi Blesh's Circle label in 1952. In addition, Miles is heard on an alternate take of "Basin Street Blues" from that day, nine previously unreleased performances from a month earlier, two unheard selections from the mid-1950s, and a pair of tunes (previously put out by the Dawn Club label) that find her performing live with the George Lewis band. In most cases, Miles is backed by a trio comprised of either Fred Neumann or Lester Santiago on piano, Frank Federico or Ernest McLean on guitar, and Joe Locacano or Richard McLean on bass. Her delivery of the standards (which include "Careless Love," "Ace in the Hole," "Some of These Days," "Someday Sweetheart" and "St. Louis Blues") is relaxed, swinging and full of joy; Miles comes across much more like a vintage jazz singer than a classic blues vocalist. The recording quality is generally quite good on these rarities. The mid-1950s numbers have her joined by a New Orleans sextet that includes cornetist Johnny Wiggs and clarinetist Raymond Burke, while the George Lewis group is supportive on the final two numbers. A perfect introduction to the infectious singing of Lizzie Miles.


Born: March 31, 1895 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '50s

Lizzie Miles was a fine classic blues singer from the 1920s who survived to have a full comeback in the 1950s. She started out singing in New Orleans during 1909-1911 with such musicians as King Oliver, Kid Ory, and Bunk Johnson. Miles spent several years touring the South in minstrel shows and playing in theaters. She was in Chicago during 1918-1920 and then moved to New York in 1921, making her recording debut the following year. Her recordings from the 1922-1930 period mostly used lesser-known...
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