Billy Mitchell Biography
He was a driving force and major influence in the post WWII Detroit modern jazz explosion. He influenced and employed many local musicians who later went on to fame, including Thad Jones and Elvin Jones. He is best known for his work with The Count Basie Orchestra and The Dizzy Gillespie big band of the 50's and 60's..... Mitchell and trombonist Al Grey left Basie in late 1961 and formed the Al Grey/Billy Mitchell Sextet, which won the Downbeat Award for best new jazz band of 1962! This band also officially introduced vibraphone future star Bobby Hutcherson. Besides leaving and re-joining Basie's band several times in the 60's, Billy was an important figure on Long Island (his home) and Manhattan in the educational area of jazz; he was mentor and friend to Alto Saxophonist, Charles McPherson, and LA trombonist/composer-arranger Richard Pulin.