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Grover Mitchell

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Grover Mitchell
Background information
Birth nameGrover Curry Mitchell
Born(1930-03-17)17 March 1930
Whatley, Alabama, U.S.
Died6 August 2003(2003-08-06) (aged 73)
New York City, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, bandleader
Years active1960–2000
LabelsStash, Ken

Grover Mitchell, born Grover Curry Mitchell (March 17, 1930 – August 6, 2003) was an American jazz trombonist who led the Count Basie Orchestra.


Mitchell was born in Whately, Alabama, but he moved with his parents to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when he was eight. He played the bugle in school and wanted to play trumpet. However, the school band needed a trombonist and reportedly Mitchell's long arms fit the task. He was a member of the school's orchestra with Ahmad Jamal and Dakota Staton.[1] At sixteen, he played with King Kolax's territory band in Indiana.[2]

In 1951 he joined the U.S. Marines and played in a military band.[1] After being discharged in 1953, he moved to San Francisco, where he worked with Earl Hines, Lionel Hampton, and Duke Ellington.[2] From 1962–1970, he was a member of the Count Basie Orchestra. Mitchell had been a fan of Tommy Dorsey, as Count Basie told him he sounded like him. He spent the next decade working in television and movies, then returned to Basie's orchestra in 1980 and remained with it until his death in 1984. Thad Jones became leader of the orchestra, followed by Frank Foster, then Mitchell in 1995.[2][3]

As bandleader, Mitchell won the Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for Live at Manchester Craftsmen's Guild (1996) and Count Plays Duke (1998)[3]

He died of cancer in New York at the age of 73.[4]


As leader[edit]

  • Meet Grover Mitchell (Jazz Chronicles, 1979)
  • The Devil's Waltz (Jazz Chronicles, 1980)
  • Live at the Red Parrot (Hemisphere, 1984)
  • Grover Mitchell & His Orchestra (Stash, 1987)
  • Truckin ' (Stash, 1987)
  • Hip Shakin' (Ken, 1990)
  • Live at Manchester Craftsmen's Guild (1996) with the Count Basie Orchestra
  • On Track with his New Blue Devils (Quixotic Records, 1997)[5]
  • Count Plays Duke with the Count Basie Orchestra (MAMA, 1998)
  • Swing Shift (MAMA/Summit, 1999)
  • Grover Mitchell Big Band (Storyville, 2004)[6]

As sideman[edit]

With Count Basie

With Gene Ammons

With Joey DeFrancesco

With Al Grey

With Eddie Harris

With Oliver Nelson


  1. ^ a b Bernotas, Bob (1994). "An Interview with Grover Mitchell: Part 1". Online Trombone Journal. Archived from the original on 18 March 2016. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Dobbin, Len (2003). "Grover Mitchell: 1930-2003". Jazz House. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  3. ^ a b Ratliff, Ben (8 August 2003). "Grover Mitchell, 73, Trombonist And Leader of Basie Orchestra". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Grover Mitchell, 73; Trombonist Brought New Success to Basie Band". 9 August 2003.
  5. ^ "Jazz Music Archive". Jazz Music Archive. Retrieved Dec 10, 2017.
  6. ^ "Grover Mitchell". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 May 2017.