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Buddy Miles, Drummer for Hendrix, Dead at 60

Buddy Miles, the powerhouse drummer best known for his brief stint as one-third of Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys, died Feb. 26 in Austin. The cause of death was congestive heart failure. Miles was 60.

Born George Miles on Sept. 5, 1947, in Omaha, Neb., his first significant gig was playing drums in the Bebops, a band led by his bassist father, George Sr. As a teenager Buddy Miles (pictured here with Hendrix) played with a number of well-known jazz and R&B acts, such as the Ink Spots, Ruby & the Romantics and the Delfonics. He began drumming for R&B great Wilson Pickett in 1966 and the following year was tapped by blues-rock guitarist Michael Bloomfield, who had recently left the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Bloomfield recruited Miles to anchor a new horn-centered band called the Electric Flag, which made its debut at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967. The band recorded one highly regarded album for Columbia in 1968, with Miles also singing some numbers, but that same year Bloomfield departed. Miles kept the group going for one further album before going on to form his own Buddy Miles Express, which released its debut album, Expressway to Your Skull, in 1968. A followup titled Electric Church came out in 1969, notable mostly because it was produced by Hendrix, whom Miles had met earlier in Canada when both musicians were still working as sidemen. Miles also contributed to Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland album in 1968.

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