Billy Mitchell

Genres: R&B / Soul
Descriptive "tags": jazz pop rock and roll saxophone oldies tumplet -jazz-funk- under 2000 listeners Powered by AudioScrobbler
Decades Active: 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s


Willie Melvin Mitchell, 3 November 1926, Kansas City, Missouri, USA, d. 18 April 2001, New York City, New York, USA. Mitchell studied in Detroit and played tenor saxophone with Nat Towles’ band in the late 40s before moving to New York with Lucky Millinder’s Orchestra. He spent a couple of months in Woody Herman’s Second Herd, and then led his own bop quintet back in Detroit, which included Thad Jones on trumpet and Elvin Jones on drums (1950-53). In the mid-50s, after a couple of years with Dizzy Gillespie, he recorded with Ray Charles and joined Count Basie’s Orchestra. He co-led a sextet with ex-Basie trombonist Al Grey, and worked as musical director for Stevie Wonder in the mid-60s, before rejoining Basie (1966-67). He used a tough, bluesy tone to construct fluent solo lines. In the 70s Mitchell settled in New York and undertook studio work, he also taught and performed with the Xanadu All Stars.

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