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Mon, 09.12.1927

Bettye Miller sang with style

Bettye Miller

*Bettye Miller’s birth in 1927 is marked on this date. She was an African American Pianist and Singer.

Miller was born in Clinton, Missouri. She earned bachelors and master's degrees in vocal music from Lincoln University and taught elementary school in West Plains, Missouri, for two years before moving to Philadelphia for more voice training. In Philadelphia, she turned to the piano as her primary instrument and played in nightclubs there before moving to Kansas City in the early 1950s.

It was while playing at the Horseshoe Lounge that she met Milt Abel. They performed together at the Horseshoe Lounge for ten years, followed by regular engagements at various Kansas City jazz clubs, including the Plaza III, Putsch's Strawberry Patch, and Mr. Putsch's on the Plaza. They also performed occasionally in Chicago, New York, and Las Vegas, as well as at many jazz festivals and benefit concerts. Miller was one of the finest musical talents of the Midwest.

Contrasts were important in her style: Lush romanticism with far-reaching arpeggios and crashing chords would give way suddenly to delicate reflections. From the early 1950s until her death in 1977, pianist Bettye Miller brought a unique warmth and intimacy to her performances. She died in 1977.

All That Jazz The Illustrated Story of Jazz Music
General Editor: Ronald Atkins
Copyright 1996, Carlton Books Limited
ISBN 0-76519-953-X

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