Gene "Bowlegs" Miller

Gene "Bowlegs" Miller (May 27, 1933 – December 25, 1987) was an American trumpeter and band leader.


Miller performed in clubs on Beale Street, in Memphis, Tennessee, when that area was a flourishing center of nightlife, playing with such entertainers as Dwight "Gatemouth" Moore, Maurice Hulbert, Jr., and Ma Rainey. He played with bandleaders Tuff Green and Phineas Newborn, Sr.

Miller formed his own band, Bowlegs & His Band, in the early 1960s, playing regularly at Memphis clubs, including the Flamingo Room, Club Handy, and Currie's Club Tropicana and, later, the Rosewood, Club Paradise, and the Manhattan Club.

He has directed, arranged, written, produced and played with many leading entertainers, such as Otis Redding,[1] O. V. Wright, Little Jr. Parker, Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls, Joe Simon, Isaac Hayes, Wilson Pickett,[2] Jerry Butler, B.B. King, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Al Green, Denise LaSalle,[3] Nancy Wilson, Rufus Thomas, Sam & Dave, Onzie Horne, Etta James,[1] Ollie Nightingale,[4] Johnny Nash, James Carr, and Willie Mitchell.

Miller virtually launched the career of singer Peabo Bryson, who first reached record charts with the hit "Reaching for the Sky".[citation needed] One of Miller's discoveries was R&B singer Ann Peebles.[citation needed]

He promoted Sugar Hill Gang and LL Cool J. Also, he entertained many jazz audiences with entertainers such as Julian "Cannonball" and Nat Adderley, Dizzy Gillespie, Nina Simone, Phineas Newborn, Jr., and many others.

Miller was the orchestral leader for WDIA Radio Station Starlight and Goodwill Revues. He also worked as the southern independent record promoter for Island, Atlantic, Arista, and CBS Records of New York. He recorded at Sun Studio, Mercury Studio, Malaco Records and Muscle Shoals. He was a regular session player at Fame Studios playing on such hits as “Tell Mama” by Etta James, "Slip Away" by Clarence Carter, “Hey Jude” by Wilson Pickett.[5]

Miller was a native Memphian and graduate of Booker T. Washington High School.

He was honored by the Beale Street Brass Note Walk of Fame in 2011.[6]


As sideman


  1. ^ a b The Mojo Collection: 4th Edition. Canongate Books, 2007 At Google Books. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  2. ^ Pfenninger, Leslie J. and Bob Porter (1986) The Clef/Verve Labels: The MGM era. Greenwood Press At Google Books. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  3. ^ Whiteis, David (2013) Southern Soul-Blues, p. 56. University of Illinois Press At Google Books. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  4. ^ Billboard 1 Jul 1972 Billboard at Google Books. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  5. ^ Muscle Shoals, The Muscle Shoals Sound: 3614 Jackson Highway, CD, Rhino Records Inc., 1993, liner notes
  6. ^ [1] Archived November 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine