Lizzie Miles Biography

Elizabeth Mary Landreaux, 31 March 1895, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, d. 17 March 1963, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. As a teenager, Miles sang with outstanding early jazzmen including King Oliver, Freddie Keppard, Kid Ory and Bunk Johnson. By the early 20s, she had established a reputation in Chicago and New York and toured Europe in the middle of the decade. The late 20s found her resident in New York, singing in clubs and recording with Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton. Illness kept her out of the business for a few years, but she returned to work in New York and Chicago in the late 30s and early 40s. Miles then abandoned her career, but she returned to nightclub work in the 50s, made records and re-established her reputation in the wake of the dixieland revival, singing with Bob Scobey, Sharkey Bonano and George Lewis. She retired in 1959, turning her back on music to embrace religion.

Often singing in Louisiana Creole patois, Miles had a robust and earthy style that made her a distinctive performer, despite a rather narrow vocal range. Miles was an all-round entertainer, applying her powerful delivery impartially to blues, pop songs, ballads, Creole songs, and improbable Creolized (French language) versions of ‘Bill Bailey’ and ‘A Good Man Is Hard To Find’.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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