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Abel, Milt (Milton Addison Abel), 1928-2006



  • Existence: July 5, 1928 - February 3, 2006


Milton Addison Abel was born July 5, 1928 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one of 16 children to Harry and Susie Abel. Abel served as a Corporal in the U.S. Army and was based at Fort Leonard Wood. During his time in the U.S. Army, Abel played trombone and baritone horn in the 315th Army Band. When it came time for his Army discharge, Abel moved to Kansas City, where he met pianist and vocalist Bettye Miller.

After the passing of his first wife, Abel continued his musical career as a bassist in Kansas City. He played with several groups in the city such as the Kansas City Jazz Quintet, the Frank Smith Trio, the Pete Eye Trio, as well as engagements with Bettye's daughter, Bettyejo Miller. In 1986, Abel formed the Milt Abel Trio, performing at such Kansas City establishments as the Alameda Plaza Rooftop Lounge, Westin Crown Center Signboard Bar, and the Allis Plaza Hotel 12th Street Room.

In 1980, Milt Abel married Linda Erwin. They had two children, son Milton II in 1983 and daughter Chloe-Grant in 1988. Abel and his son were playing gigs together by the time Milton II was six years old. Some of Abel's greatest achievements include his induction both as an Elderstatesman of Kansas City Jazz and into the KC Jazz Commission's KC Jazz Hall of Fame, both in 1989; a lifetime Gold Card Membership in Local 34-627 in 1993; and in 2005 was a recipient of the Coda Jazz Fund Lifetime Achievement Award. Milt Abel died on February 3, 2006, at age 77.

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