Irving Mills was a music publisher and owner of Mills Music with his brother Jack. He also was a singer, songwriter, A&R man and manager of several bands that included Cab Calloway, Benny Carter, Fletcher Henderson, Mills Blue Rhythm Band and the Duke Ellington Orchestra, which he managed from 1926 to 1939. His association with Duke ran deep; besides being their manager he wrote lyrics to several of Ellington's songs and sang on many of their records. Duke and other members of his orchestra had mixed emotions about their business relations with Irving Mills. In general they held him in high regard, but felt that as publisher he sometimes took authors' credit and royalties that were not deserved. On the other hand nearly all agreed that much of Ellington's early commercial success was because of Mills business skills. It should be noted that the addition of publishers' names to songs was common practice in those days and the same accusations were leveled at most publishers of the era.

The Hotsy-Totsy Gang records made under Irving Mills name between 1928 and 1930 assembled some of the greatest White Jazz musicians of the era and often produced spectacular results. Sometimes Mills sang on the records, other times he just arranged the record dates and selected the musicians. As a singer Mills was not without talent.

Here's a recording by the Hotsy-Totsy Gang that is "so hot that the music had to be written on sheets of asbestos". It's from Brunswick Brevities which was a short radio program that was broadcast in the late 1920s and early 1930s. This episode featured Irving Mills and his Hotsy Totsy Gang performing "Nobody's Sweetheart Now" and Hoagy Carmichael singing a great version of his song "Harvey". Click here to listen to it!

Thanks to Dennis Pereyra for his help with this page.

Title Recording Date Recording Location Company
Ain't Misbehavin'
(vocal, tap dancing by Bill Robinson)

(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller / Harry Brooks)
9-4-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
Barbaric
(Hoagy Carmichael)
1-6-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
4920
Can't We Get Together? (non-vocal)
(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller / Harry Brooks)
7-31-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
Can't We Get Together? (vocal)
(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller / Harry Brooks)
7-31-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
Crazy 'Bout My Gal
(Jack Pettis / Irving Mills)
3-21-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
Dardanella
(Felix Bernard / Johnny S. Black / Fred Fisher)
10-16-1928 New York, New York Vocalion
Deep Harlem
(Irving Mills / Frank Signorelli / Matty Malneck)
6-6-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
Diga Diga Doo (non-vocal)
(Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh)
7-27-1928 New York, New York Brunswick
Diga Diga Doo (vocal)
(Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh)
7-27-1928 New York, New York Brunswick
Doin' The New Low-Down (non-vocal)
(Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh)
7-27-1928 New York, New York Brunswick
Doin' The New Low-Down
From Blackbirds of 1926
Vocal Chorus by Elizabeth Welsh

(Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh)
7-27-1928 New York, New York Brunswick
4014
Doin' The New Low-Down
(vocal, tap dancing by Bill Robinson)

(Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh)
9-4-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
Don't Mess Around With Me (A)
(Palmer)
7-27-1928 New York, New York Brunswick
Don't Mess Around With Me (B)
(Palmer)
7-27-1928 New York, New York Brunswick
Futuristic Rhythm (non-vocal)
(Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh)
1-14-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
Futuristic Rhythm (vocal)
(Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh)
1-14-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
Harvey
(Hoagy Carmichael)
9-20-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
High And Dry
(Hoagy Carmichael)
1-6-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
4920

E31757
High And Dry
(Hoagy Carmichael)
1-6-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
4920

E31758
I Couldn't If I Wanted To
(I Wouldn't If I Could)

Vocal Chorus by Milton Irving

(Irving Mills / Palmer)
10-16-1928 New York, New York Brunswick
4112
I Wonder What My Gal Is Doin'?
(Irving Mills / Jack Pettis)
3-21-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
4998
Loved One (A)
(Frankie Trumbauer / Irving Mills / Hayden)
6-6-1930 New York, New York Vocalion
Loved One (B)
(Frankie Trumbauer / Irving Mills / Hayden)
6-6-1930 New York, New York Vocalion
Manhattan Rag
(Hoagy Carmichael)
11-7-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
March Of The Hoodlums
(Hoagy Carmichael)
9-20-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
My Little Honey And Me
(Hackforth)
11-7-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
Out Where The Blues Begin (non-vocal)
(Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh)
1-14-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
Out Where The Blues Begin (vocal)
(Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh)
1-14-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
Railroad Man
(Irving Mills)
3-21-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
Since You Went Away
(Riddick / Smith)
10-16-1928 New York, New York Brunswick
Some Fun
(Van Eps)
7-31-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
4498
St. Louis Blues
(W.C. Handy)
5-24-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
Star Dust
(Mitchell Parrish / Hoagy Carmichael)
9-20-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
Strut Miss Lizzie
(Henry Creamer / J. Turner Layton)
6-6-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
Sweet Savannah Sue (non-vocal)
(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller / Harry Brooks)
7-31-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
Sweet Savannah Sue (vocal)
(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller / Harry Brooks)
7-31-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
What A Night
(Irving Mills / Jack Pettis)
5-24-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
4998
What Kind Of Man Is You?
(Hoagy Carmichael)
11-7-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
Artist Instrument
Smith Ballew Vocals
Ray Bauduc Drums
Bix Beiderbecke Cornet
Al Beller Violin
Ed Bergman Violin
Larry Binyon Tenor Saxophone
Perry Botkin Banjo, Ukulele
Vic Breidis Piano, Celeste
Arnold Brilhart Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Clay Bryson Banjo
Hoagy Carmichael Piano, Celeste, Vocals
Jack Cornell Piano-Accordion
Jimmy Dorsey Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Tommy Dorsey Trombone
Dudley Fosdick Mellophone
Al Goering Piano
Benny Goodman Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
Harry Goodman Tuba
Al Harris Cornet, Trumpet
Manny Klein Trumpet
Merrill Kline Tuba
Gene Krupa Drums
Eddie Lang Guitar
Min Leibrook Bass Saxophone
Fud Livingston Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Ray Lodwig Trumpet
Matt Malneck Violin
Matty Matlock Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Leo McConville Trumpet
Dick McDonough Guitar, Banjo
Jimmy McPartland Cornet
Irving Mills Director, Vocals, Violin ?
Miff Mole Trombone
Bill Moore Trumpet
Chauncey Morehouse Drums, Vibraphone
Dick Morgan Banjo
Lilian Morton Vocals
Phil Napoleon Trumpet
Dillon Ober Drums
Jack Pettis C-Melody Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Ben Pollack Drums, Vocals
Dick Robertson Vocals
Bill Robinson Tap Dancing, Vocals
Gil Rodin Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Pee Wee Russell Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Irving "Babe" Russin Tenor Saxophone
Bill Schumann Violincello
Frank Signorelli Piano
Joe Tarto Tuba
Jack Teagarden Trombone
Joe Venuti Violin
Elizabeth Welch Vocals