b. Louis A. Mitchell, 1885, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 2 December 1957, Washington, DC, USA. A showman drummer, adept on numerous percussion instruments, Mitchell played in vaudeville from the turn of the century. He was popular in New York and attracted a great deal of attention on a visit to London in 1914. He returned to London the following year, appearing as a solo variety act on the stages of UK music halls. He went back to Europe in 1918 with a band labelled Mitchell’s Jazz Kings with which he toured extensively and held a long residency in Paris. During the 30s, Mitchell was still often in Europe but increasingly worked in capacities other than as a musician. His playing revealed often startling dexterity and it is easy to understand his appeal to audiences of the era in which he played. His playing in a jazz context was less secure but his band did much to spread the word ‘jazz’ throughout the UK and continental Europe in this period.
Share this page