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Morning Thoughts about Trumpet Players leads to Blue Mitchell and Who’s Your Favorite??

Blue MitchellLast night while I was listening to some music, various instruments and my favorite musicians who play those instruments. It’s not the first time I thought about that and I’ve even thought of starting a series of posts along that topic. The first instrument that popped into my head wad the trumpet. While the trumpet is not my favorite instrument I guess it made its appearance first in my ADD brain because I had listened to Marquis Hill the other day. Over the last few months I’ve listened to several younger trumpet players like Jeremy Pelt, Terrence Blanchard and Roy Hargrove and they have joined my musical library beside Miles, Chet Baker, and Freddie Hubbard. One player Blue Mitchell I know more from the two albums that he recorded with John Mayall in the early 70s than his earlier recording career. I have on occasion dipped into his earlier recordings and enjoyed his playing!! (oh and there are two other trumpet players in my 45 library Al Hirt and Louis Armstrong!!)

Richard Allen “Blue” Mitchell (March 13, 1930 – May 21, 1979) was an American jazz, rhythm and blues, soul, rock, and funk trumpeter, known for many albums recorded as leader and sideman for Riverside, Blue Note and then Mainstream Records   …..he was noticed by Cannonball Adderley, with whom he recorded for Riverside Records in New York in 1958.   He then joined the Horace Silver Quintet, playing with tenor saxophonist Junior Cook, bassist Gene Taylor and drummer Roy Brooks. Mitchell stayed with Silver’s group until the band’s break-up in 1964, after which he formed a group with members from the Silver quintet, substituting the young pianist Chick Corea for Silver and replacing Brooks, who had fallen ill, with drummer Al Foster. This group produced a number of records for Blue Note. It disbanded in 1969, after which Mitchell joined and toured with Ray Charles until 1971. From 1971 to 1973 Mitchell performed with John Mayall, appearing on Jazz Blues Fusion and subsequent albums. From the mid-70s he recorded and worked as a session man in the genres noted previously, performed with the big band leaders Louie Bellson, Bill Holman and Bill Berry and was principal soloist for Tony Bennett and Lena Horne. Other band leaders Mitchell recorded with include Lou Donaldson, Grant Green, Philly Joe Jones, Jackie McLean, Hank Mobley, Johnny Griffin, Al Cohn, Dexter Gordon and Jimmy Smith. Blue Mitchell kept his hard-bop playing going with the Harold Land quintet up until his death from cancer on May 21, 1979, in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 49   Check out his large discography here

Richard S. Ginell in his biography of Blue at AllMusic writes:

Owner of a direct, lightly swinging, somewhat plain-wrapped tone that fit right in with the Blue Note label’s hard bop ethos of the 1960s, Blue Mitchell tends to be overlooked today perhaps because he never really stood out vividly from the crowd, despite his undeniable talent. Read More

Blue SoulWhen I started to look at videos of Blue’s music at YouTube, the first video that caught my eye was – Something About Blue – Blue Mitchell’s Blue Soul posted by Video Jazz Guy.

Trumpeter Blue Mitchell’s 1959 recording, “Blue Soul” is profiled in the 11th installment of “Orrin Keepnews, Producer.”   One of the most respected of all jazz producers, Orrin Keepnews’s long and productive career has included working with such artists as Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery, Cannonball Adderley and Thelonious Monk, as well as founding influential jazz labels Riverside and Milestone. More 

So these thoughts lead to the ultimate question. Who is my favorite trumpeter?? And I’ll pose the same question to you the reader?? Wait I forgot Her Alpert in the opening paragraph! While you are reading, how about some Blue Mitchell from that Blue Soul album


  1. pinballeric

    Lee Morgan

  2. Bill Reinhardt

    Clifford Brown

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