[Dixielandjazz] Miff Mole

Stephen G Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Aug 13 21:45:32 PDT 2009

For a great bio on trombonist Miff Mole, see


He is one of the forgotten men of trad jazz. Partially because is was  
a sort of forgettable guy if you met and talked with him casually and  
didn't know he was an innovative trombonist. Very unassuming and  
boring to talk with.

Tommy Dorsey adored Mole and was quoted once as saying something like  
he (Dorsey) was not a good soloist and everything he ever played was  
copied from Mole.

I was lucky enough to play with him once when he came to sit in with a  
band where I was a sideman. One night at a club not too far from where  
he lived on Long Island, about 1956 or so. He was not well, having a  
hard time moving around, but he played beautifully. Al Winters was our  
trombonist on that gig and he was just enamored of the way Mole played.

In the late 1940s, early 50s he hung out with Pee Wee Russell, like a  
keeper. Tried to keep Russell from drinking too much etc., but always  
giving in when Russell started to sweat as he did when he needed a  
drink. Folks who hired Russell, liked to hire Mole on the same gig  
because he kept Russell relatively straight and they could count on  
him showing up if Mole was there. Still, though, I remember Mole  
allowing Russell to drink gin and milk at Julius's joint when they  
worked together in Greenwich Village. But only one. <grin>

Steve Barbone

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