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Grover Curry Mitchell
was a jazz trombonist and bandleader. He was born in Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...
, but his parents moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...
when he was eight. It was in Pittsburgh that he became interested in jazz.
He began on trombone in his teens after initially desiring to learn trumpet. However, his arms were considered long, so the school trained him in trombone as they needed trombonists more than trumpeters. In adulthood he worked with the United States Marines band, Lionel Hampton
Lionel Leo Hampton was an American jazz vibraphonist, pianist, percussionist, bandleader and actor. Like Red Norvo, he was one of the first jazz vibraphone players. Hampton ranks among the great names in jazz history, having worked with a who's who of jazz musicians, from Benny Goodman and Buddy...
, and Duke Ellington
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions...
. He became best known for his association with Count Basie
William "Count" Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. Basie led his jazz orchestra almost continuously for nearly 50 years...
, which began in 1962. He was lead trombone for Basie by 1970, but after that he took time off. He founded his own band in 1978 which he continued to lead even after returning to Basie's Orchestra in 1980. From 1995 until his death, he served as director of the Count Basie Orchestra
The Count Basie Orchestra is a 16 to 18 piece big band, one of the most prominent jazz performing groups of the swing era, founded by Count Basie. The band survived the late '40s decline in big band popularity and went on to produce notable collaborations with singers such as Frank Sinatra and Ella...
. In that capacity he won the Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
The Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album has been presented since 1961. From 1962 to 1971 and 1979 to 1991 the award title specified instrumental performances...
Mitchell was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame
The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame was founded in 1978, and opened a museum on September 18, 1993, with a mission "to foster, encourage, educate, and cultivate a general appreciation of the medium of jazz music as a legitimate, original and distinctive art form indigenous to America...