20 September 1927|
New York City
|Died||8 November 1992
|Occupation(s)||Jazz musician, composer|
|Instruments||Upright bass, piano, alto saxophone, clarinet|
Mitchell was born on September 20, 1927, in New York City. His younger brother, Whitey Mitchell, also became a jazz bassist.
Mitchell was raised in New Jersey by a father who was an engineer and loved music, and a mother who loved poetry. His first instruments were piano, alto saxophone, and clarinet. Although Cornell University awarded him an engineering scholarship, by 1947 he was in the US Army playing bass. The next year he was in a jazz trio in New York City.
Mitchell became known for performing and/or recording with Mundell Lowe, Chubby Jackson, Charlie Ventura, Woody Herman, Red Norvo, Gerry Mulligan, and, after joining the West Coast jazz scene in the early 1950s, with André Previn, Shelly Manne, Hampton Hawes, Billie Holiday, Stan Seltzer, Ornette Coleman, and others. He also worked as a bassist in the TV and film studios around Los Angeles, occasionally appearing on screen. Mitchell also appeared in documentaries about Tal Farlow, and Zoot Sims.
Saxophonist Harold Land and Mitchell founded and co-led a quintet in the early 1960s. In 1966, Red began tuning his bass in fifths (as the violin, viola, and cello are tuned), and his tuning method opened up many possibilities for bassists.
Mitchell moved to Stockholm in 1968. He won a Swedish Grammy Awards in 1986 and again in 1991 for his recorded performances as a pianist, bassist, and vocalist, and for his compositions and poetic song lyrics.
During this period, Mitchell performed and/or recorded with Clark Terry, Lee Konitz, Herb Ellis, Jim Hall, Joe Pass, Kenny Barron, Hank Jones, Ben Webster, Bill Mays, Warne Marsh, Jimmy Rowles, Phil Woods, Roger Kellaway, Putte Wickman and others. He frequently collaborated in duos, most notably with pianist Kellaway after the mid-1980s.
Returning to the United States in early 1992, Mitchell settled in Oregon where he died at age 65 on November 8, 1992.
A collection of his poetry was published posthumously. His widow is preparing a biography.
- Happy Minors (Bethlehem, 1955) 10" LP with Bob Brookmeyer and Zoot Sims
- Red Mitchell (Bethlehem, 1956)
- Presenting Red Mitchell (Contemporary, 1957)
- Rejoice! (Vogue, 1961)
- Hear Ye! (Atlantic, 1962) by the Red Mitchell-Harold Land Quintet
- One Long String (Mercury, 1969)
- Bästisar! (Artist, 1973) with Evabritt Strandberg
- Two Way Conversation (Sonet, 1974) with Barney Kessel
- I Concentrate on You: A Tribute to Cole Porter (SteepleChase, 1974) with Lee Konitz
- Chocolate Cadillac with Horace Parlan, Nisse Sandstrom, Rune Carlsson, Idrees Sulieman, 1976
- But Three's a Crowd (Bluebell, 1977) with Karin Krog
- Blues for a Crushed Soul (Sonet, 1978) with Communication
- Jim Hall/Red Mitchell (Artists House, 1978) with Jim Hall
- Scairport Blues (Yupiteru, 1978)
- Red'n Me (All Life, 1979) with Jimmy Rowles
- What I Am (Caprice, 1979)
- You're Me (Phontastic, 1980) with Tommy Flanagan
- Three for All (Enja, 1981) with Phil Woods and Tommy Flanagan
- When I'm Singing, 1982, Enja Records
- Simple Isn't Easy, Soloalbum, 1983
- Home Suite, Soloalbum, 1985
- To Duke and Basie (Enja, 1986) with Clark Terry
- The Red Barron Duo with Kenny Barron, 1986
- Duo with Hank Jones, 1987
- Jive at Five (Enja, 1988) with Clark Terry
- Mitchell's Talking with Ben Riley, Kenny Barron, 1989
- Hear Ye! with Harold Land, Carmell Jones, Frank Strazzeri, Leon Pettis, 1989
- Blaus with Jan "Janka" Johansson, 1992
- Evolution with Lars Jansson, Joakim Milder, 1995
- Live in Stockholm with Roger Kellaway, Joakim Milder, 1995
- Red Mitchell-Warne Marsh Big Two, Vol. 2 with Warne Marsh, 1998
- Live at Port Townsend with George Cables, (1992), 2005
With Gene Ammons
- Gene Ammons in Sweden (Enja, 1973 )
With Chet Baker
- Chet Baker Sings and Plays (Pacific Jazz, 1955)
With Paul Bley
- Live at Sweet Basil (Soul Note, 1988)
With Bob Brookmeyer
- Bob Brookmeyer (Crown, 1963)
With Maynard Ferguson
- Dimensions (EmArcy, 1955)
With Jim Hall
- Good Friday Blues (Pacific Jazz, 1960) as The Modest Jazz Trio
Wit Herbie Harper
- Five Brothers (Tampa, 1955)
With Hampton Hawes
- Four! (Contemporary, 1958)
With Karin Krog
- I Remember You (Spotlite, 1981) with Warne Marsh
With Shelly Manne
- Bells Are Ringing (Contemporary, 1958)
With Warne Marsh
- Music for Prancing (Mode, 1957)
- Tenors Head-On (Liberty, 1957)
With André Previn
- Gigi (Contemporary, 1958)
- West Side Story (Contemporary, 1959)
- Andre Previn and J.J Johnson Play Kurt Weill (Columbia, 1961) with J.J. Johnson
- Sessions, Live (Calliope, 1978) recorded 1956-57
- A Different Kind of Blues (EMI, 1980) with Itzhak Perlman
- It's a Breeze (EMI, 1981) with Itzhak Perlman
With Dick Rosmini
- Adventures for 12-String, 6-String and Banjo (Elektra, 1964)
With George Russell
- Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved by Nature (Flying Dutchman, 1969)
With Clark Terry
- Out of Nowhere (Bingow, 1978)
- Brahms Lullabye (Bingow, 1978)
- Funk Dumplin's (Matrix, 1978)
With Ben Webster
- Ben Webster at the Renaissance (Contemporary, 1960)
- Leonard Feather (April 5, 1983). "Red Mitchell Brings His Bass Home". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-09-03.
Red Mitchell, a Swedish resident for 14 years, is getting to spend more and more time back home these days and had to come from New York for his ...
- "Keith "Red" Mitchell". Orlando Sentinel. November 11, 1992. Retrieved 2012-09-03.
Keith "Red" Mitchell, a jazz bassist who played with such greats as Dizzy Gillespie and Billie Mitchell ...
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