3 August 1940, Chicago, Illinois, USA. As a child Mitchell enjoyed listening to Nat King Cole, Lester Young and Charlie Parker. He studied clarinet and baritone saxophone in high school, taking up alto saxophone in his senior year and continuing with it while in the army. He went to Europe with an army band, where he heard Albert Ayler, who was also playing in a military band. After demobilization, he played bop in an outfit with Henry Threadgill, but Aylers music had been a revelation to him. Back in Chicago, he jammed with Threadgill, Malachi Favors, Jack DeJohnette, and Muhal Richard Abrams. Abrams was even more of an influence than Ayler. In 1965 Mitchell was made a charter member of the AACM, having played in the Experimental Band (organized by Abrams, the AACM President, inspirer and prime mover) since 1961. His debut, Sound, was the first and one of the most famous recordings to come out of the AACM, characterizing the Chicagoans new...
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