He never really stood out vividly from the crowd, despite his undeniable talent

His career began in the early 1950’s but didn’t truly take off until almost 10 years later, when his multifaceted playing style led to gigs with the great Cannonball Adderley, with whom he recorded 1958’s Portrait of Cannonball on Riverside Records. From there, he joined the Horace Silver Quintet until 1964; once it broke up, he formed his own quintet with drummer Roy Brooks and pianist Chick Corea, who was still an upstart talent back then.

By the late ‘60s, traditional jazz wasn’t as viable in the mainstream marketplace, so Mitchell supplemented his artistry by playing soul and pop sessions; he toured with Ray Charles, and found new footing as a solo act.

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