St. Louis Wiggle Rhythm

Lucky Millinder and Mills Blue Rhythm Band

May 20, 1936

This recording was made by the “Mills Blue Rhythm Band” under the direction of Lucky Millinder in New York City on May 20, 1936.

The band personnel are as follows: Wardell Jones, Shelton Hemphill, and Red Allen, trumpets; George Washington and J. C. Higginbotham, trombones; Willie Humphrey and Crawford Wethington, clarinet and alto sax; Tab Smith, alto sax; Gene Mikell, clarinet, alto, and baritone sax; Joe Garland, tenor, and baritone sax; Edgar Hayes, piano; Lawrence Lucie, guitar; Elmer James, bass; and O’Neil Spencer, drums.

*”Mills Blue Rhythm Band” started as the “Coconut Grove Orchestra” in Harlem in 1930, with reedman Bingie Madison the first of its many leaders. The following year Irving Mills became the band’s manager, changing the name.

*After cycling through at about a dozen different front men including Jimmy Ferguson (Baron Lee) and violinist Carroll Dickerson, Lucky Millinder permanently took on the role in 1934.

*Lucky kept the band going strong for another four years until the group disbanded in 1938 at which time Millinder joined “Bill Doggett’s Band,” reforming it into his own orchestra in 1940.

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