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Butch Miles


Butch Miles was born in Ironton, Ohio on July 4, 1944 and raised in West Virginia. He started playing the snare drum at age 9 in his school band. He became interested in drumset at age 14 and started drum lessons with Frank Thompson in Charleston, West Virginia at age 15. He soon joined the union and began playing with dance bands. Butch's first big break was with Mel Torme's band in 1971.

Butch's first drum hero was Gene Krupa, but he listened to every drummer he possibly could. Other favorite drummers were Papa Jo Jones, Chick Webb, Roy Haynes, Joe Morello, Louie Bellson and Buddy Rich. Butch cites the great Count Basie drummer, Sonny Payne, as a major influence.

Miles is a clinician for the Ludwig Drum Company and is currently touring with the world famous Count Basie Orchestra. "In January of 1975 Butch joined the Count Basie Orchestra as a sub for Ray Parello, who had been in an auto accident, but soon became his replacement. Buddy Rich helped Miles get the job by putting in a good word for him with Basie. Previously, Butch was Mel Torme's drummer.
Buck Clayton, the legendary Basie trumpeter and arranger said 'Miles fits the band better than anyone since Jo (Jones) left.' In 1979 Butch left Basie to pursue other opportunities. Butch has since played with artists such as Dave Brubeck, Tony Bennett, Benny Goodman, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Gerry Mulligan, Lena Horne, Joe Bushkin, Bob Wilber, and many others." This information is from an article by Burt Korall in the April 1994 issue of Modern Drummer Magazine entitled "The Great Drummers of Count Basie."

The accomplishments of drummer Butch Miles are practically endless. Playing with such luminaries as Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dave Brubeck, Mel Torme, Lena Horne, Joe Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Woody Herman, Clark Terry, Gerry Mulligan, Billy Eckstein, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Benny Goodman, Tony Bennett, Dick Hyman and others, Butch displays the maturity of his experience with youthful imagination and unending energy. In both big band and small group capacities, Butch brings technical and creative finesse together.

Butch has performed at the Newport Jazz Festival (now the "JVC Jazz Festival") in New York since 1975 and the Grande Parade Du Jazz in Nice, France nine times. He has performed at every major jazz festival in the world including the Montreal Jazz Festival; North Sea Jazz Festival at the Hague, the Netherlands; the Montreux and Bern Jazz Festivals in Switzerland; the Berlin, Munich, Cologne and Stuttgart Jazz Festivals in Germany along with many tours throughout Europe, Australia, the Far East, the Americas and the Caribbean.

In 1976, Butch played a royal Command Performance for Her Majesty the Queen of England which was televised throughout all of Europe.

Miles has recorded over 100 albums and has been on three (3) Grammy winning albums along with being nominated numerous times for the European equivalent of the Grammy.

He has appeared on "60 Minutes", "The Tonight Show" starring Johnny Carson, "The Merv Griffin Show", and six times on "The Jerry Lewis Telethon". Internationally, Butch has made personal appearances on radio and television stations throughout the world. He has also appeared in three motion pictures: "The Australian Jazz Fest" filmed while Butch was touring Australia with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, "The Last of the Blue Devils" filmed on location while he was touring with the Count Basie Orchestra and briefly in Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors".

Now back with the Basie Orchestra Butch is constantly on tour throughout the world. He has also been busy appearing at the many Jazz Parties and Festivals around the United States and Europe since 1975. A graduate of West Virginia State College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree he also travels extensively for the Ludwig Drum Company giving clinics and concerts worldwide.

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