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Miller, Bettye, 1928-1977



  • Existence: September 12, 1927 - February 28, 1977


Bettye Miller was born Bettye Wilson September 12, 1927 in Clinton, Missouri, to Bernis and Maude Wilson. She attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts and master's degree in music. After finishing school she taught music in Philadelphia for two years. Bettye married her first husband Joel Miller and they had one daughter together, Bettyejo. In the late 1940s Miller moved to Kansas City, where she started a trio with drummer Wallace Jones and bassist Milt Abel, her future husband.

Miller and Abel began their twenty-plus-year musical romance when they met in 1953. The duo played faithfully at local Kansas City venues such as the Horseshoe Lounge, the Plaza III Restaurant, Putsch's 210 and the Strawberry Patch as well as national venues such as the Ember's in New York, Mr. Kelly's in Chicago and the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. During their years together they also released several recordings. On February 28, 1977, Bettye Miller died of cancer at age 49.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Bettye Miller and Milt Abel Collection

Identifier: MS-0067
Scope and Contents The Bettye Miller-Milt Abel Collection was gifted to the UMKC Libraries by Linda Abel, wife of the late Milt Abel, in April 2006. The collection focuses on the time that Bettye Miller and Milt Abel spent together as musicians and as husband and wife. The couple was locally and nationally known in the jazz community and performed together in cities all over the country.Housed in LaBudde Special Collections, the manuscript collection includes correspondence, contracts and...
Dates: 1912 - 2006