Irving Milfred Mole, a.k.a Miff Mole, was born in Roosevelt, NY, in 1898. He studied violin and piano as a child but switched to the trombone at the age of fifteen. The early 1920’s were spent playing with bands lead by Gus Sharpe and Jimmy Durante, and later with the Original Memphis Five. In 1923, Miff met cornet player Red Nichols, and they soon realized that they could make better music together than they could as bit players in other people’s bands. For the rest of the Twenties, these two played in each other’s bands, alternating between Miff as leader (Miff Mole and His Little Molers, Sophie Tucker and Miff Mole’s Molers) or Red as leader (Red Nichols and His Red Pennies, The Red Heads, The Charleston Chasers). It often depended on which label they were recording with; all of the Okeh records were under the name of Miff Mole and His Little Molers, or just Miff Mole and His Molers.
On “You Took Advantage of Me,” it isn’t immediately clear why Miff was so influential in the world of jazz trombone. Listen closely at 0:33, though, and you’ll get a hint of the kind of melodic sensibility that most trombonists were not encouraged to express. The coda that the band employs at 3:01 also shows a level of sophistication that was pretty high for its time.