Miles, Lizzie (1895–1963)

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Miles, Lizzie (1895–1963)

American blues singer in the cabaret style who performed throughout the U.S. Born Elizabeth Landreaux on March 31, 1895, in New Orleans, Louisiana; died on March 17, 1963, in New Orleans.

Lizzie Miles was a product of New Orleans through and through. Born on Bourbon Street, she was a light-skinned Creole with a big voice. In her youth, she joined up with a circus before going on to vaudeville and tent shows. She began to sing pop ballads, vaudeville standards, and jazz numbers in both French and English. Working her way up, she performed with King Oliver and Kid Ory in New Orleans. Eventually, she went north to Chicago and New York, and even to Paris, always working clubs and cabarets; her style was urbane and sophisticated. Miles recorded for the Okeh label in 1921 and also for Emerson, Columbia, and Victor, though she did not make an enormous amount of recordings. After the heyday of the blues in the 1920s, Miles retired in the 1930s. She made a comeback in the 1950s with the Bob Scobey Band and appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1958. She died of a heart attack in 1963.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia

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