Red Mitchell

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Red Mitchell ( Keith Moore Mitchell , born September 20, 1927 in New York City , † November 8, 1992 in Salem, Oregon ) was an American modern jazz bassist . According to Gudrun Endress , he was "a solid rhythm bassist, an impressive soloist who can phrase like a wind player, has a sure feeling for climaxes and tonal variety, has a full, voluminous tone and swings like the devil."


Mitchell had taken piano lessons from the age of five and later played the alto saxophone and clarinet while studying engineering . During his time in the army in Germany he switched to the double bass . After his discharge from the army, he briefly studied at the Juilliard School and later privately with Herman Reinshagen . From 1947 to 1948 he performed with Jackie Paris , the following year with Mundell Lowe , Chubby Jacksons Bigband and Charlie Ventura and then toured with Woody Hermans Orchestra until 1951 . He was then a member of the Red Norvo Trio until 1954 and played in Gerry Mulligan 's piano-less quartet (1954–57). The formation was celebrated at the third Paris Jazz Festival in 1954 , heard on the Vogue album Pleyel Concert . After leaving Mulligan, he moved to Los Angeles , where he lived until 1968. There he played with Hampton Hawes , among others , recorded with Corky Hale and Ornette Coleman ( Tomorrow Is The Question ! , 1959) and was a member of the MGM Records studio orchestra . In 1961 and 1962 he led a band with Harold Land . According to an estimate by Leonard Feather , he was represented on more than a thousand recordings during this time.

In 1968 he went to Stockholm , where he appeared with numerous European jazz musicians such as Putte Wickman , Svend Asmussen and Toots Thielemans , but also as a companion for American jazz musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie , Gene Ammons and Phil Woods . His own band included Bobo Stenson and Rune Carlson ; He toured the USA with his group Communications . He recorded critically-acclaimed duo albums with Lee Konitz , Guido Manusardi , Jim Hall , Tommy Flanagan and Warne Marsh before posting several sensational solo albums. He proved his ability as a composer in 1973 on Blues For A Crushed Soul with Alice Babs and Karin Krog . From 1986 to 1991 he presented himself with Clark Terry at numerous festivals.

Red Mitchell experimented early with other tunings on the double bass. Later he tuned his bass to fifths, with which he achieved a significantly larger range in the lower as well as in the high register. This sound can be heard particularly well on the duo recordings with Clark Terry (video clips from the ZDF jazz club can be found on YouTube). In the year before his death, in 1991, he and Herb Ellis were a star guest on the cruise ship The Azur at the 5th International Jazz Festival at Sea . (Video clips from this meeting can also be found on YouTube). In the same year he returned to the USA; he died in 1992 of complications from a heart attack .

Prizes and awards

His solo album A Declaration of Independence was Sweden's album of the year in 1991. In the same year Mitchell was the first jazz musician to receive the Royal Swedish Medal of Honor Illis Quorum .

Discographic notes

Lexigraphic entries

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. cit. n. Martin Kunzler Jazz Lexicon
  2. He bought his first instrument on the black market for twelve cartons of cigarettes