Blue Mitchell Biography

Richard Allen Mitchell, 13 March 1930, Miami, Florida, USA, d. 21 May 1979, Los Angeles, California, USA. Mitchell’s early professional career found him playing trumpet in a number of R&B bands, including that led in the mid-50s by Earl Bostic. Later in the decade he worked briefly with Cannonball Adderley in New York, and then joined Horace Silver’s band, an engagement that established Mitchell’s reputation. When Silver disbanded in 1963, Mitchell formed his own group, employing most of his fellow musicians, with Silver’s place being taken by Chick Corea. This band continued until the end of the decade, at which time Mitchell joined the band that was backing Ray Charles. During the early 70s, Mitchell played with a number of artists in fields outside jazz, notably bluesman John Mayall and popular singers such as Tony Bennett and Lena Horne. Resident in Los Angeles from the mid-70s, Mitchell played in both small and big bands, including those led by Harold Land, Louie Bellson and Bill Berry. A gifted, soulful player with a full, rich tone, Mitchell’s frequent excursions into areas of music outside jazz never caused him to lower his standards. Indeed, he enhanced every record date, concert or club engagement on which he played with the sincerity of his playing and the beautiful sound he drew from his instrument.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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