Butch Miles (1944-2023)

Drummer-bandleader Butch Miles (1944-2023) has died. Butch and his drumming were loved and admired all over the world. Butch Miles was best known for his tenure in the Count Basie Orchestra from 1975 to 1979 and then making a ten-year return to the band from 1997 to 2007. In the 1980s and 1990s, Miles also served as the Basie band’s leader. Miles began playing the snare drum at the age of nine and studied music at West Virginia State University. Butch named Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, and Jo Jones as his favorite drummers. He joined the Iris Bell Trio on tour after getting his college degree. He played the drums for Mel Torme for three and a half years. When Count Basie needed a drummer, both Torme and Buddy Rich suggested Miles to Basie. That was the beginning of his long musical association with “The Count.” Butch Miles extensive career included many recordings as a bandleader including an outstanding 1979 salute to Chick Webb, and playing drums for many musical legends including the Count Basie Band, Frank Sinatra, Dave Brubeck, Ella Fitzgerald, and many more. The entire Modern Drummer family sends our thoughts and prayers to Butch’s family and friends, the great Butch Miles will be missed.

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