Bubber Miley was from the body and soul of Soulsville. He was raised on soul and saturated and marinated in soul. Every note he played was soul filled with the pulse of compulsion. It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing was his credo. Before he played his choruses, he would tell his story, and he always had a story for his music, such as: "This is an old man, tired from working in the field since sunup, coming up the road in the sunset on his way home to dinner. He's tired but strong, and humming in time with his broken gait--or vice versa." That was how he pictured "East St. Louis Toodle-oo."
Both Miley and Whetsol painted pictures in music, one in one style and one in another. They spoke different languages, and though the listener didn't understand their language, he believed everything they had to say.
His [Bubber���s] growl solos with the plunger mute were another of our early sound identities, and between 1925 and 1929 he laid the foundation of a tradition that has been maintained ever since by men like Cootie Williams and Ray Nance.