b. 9 November 1926, London, England, d. 9 March 1998, Bognor Regis, Sussex, England. The guitarist leader of the Malcolm Mitchell Trio, a popular rhythm outfit on the UK Variety circuit and in radio programmes during the 50s, Mitchell was originally taught to play his instrument by an erudite survivor of the 30s dance bands, Ivor Mairants. Thereafter, he worked for various bands led by the likes of George Evans and Felix Mendelssohn, before joining the Jack Fallon Trio. This ensemble, with Fallon on bass, and Tony Crombie playing drums, accompanied the legendary Duke Ellington on a tour of Britain in 1949. In October 1949, the Malcolm Mitchell Trio was formed, with Johnny Pearson (piano) and Teddy Broughton (bass). After making their first appearance at a local church hall, the Trio was offered a booking in the south of France. Having spent all their funds on a one-way ticket, they found police had closed the club, so had to find work elsewhere. Broadcasting stints on Radio Monte Carlo were followed in March 1949 by an important residency at the Grand National Hotel in Lucerne, Switzerland, and the group also performed in other European locations, including Paris, before returning to London to take up an engagement at Ciro’s nightclub.
Early in 1950, they continued to ‘double’ at various West End clubs while also appearing in the Jack Buchanan revue Castle In The Air at the Adelphi Theatre. In 1952, they were signed by Ambrose for a major road tour with trumpet star Eddie Calvert, but two years later Mitchell disbanded the Trio and formed an all-star modern jazz orchestra for one-night bookings and recordings for Decca. Johnny Pearson subsequently went on to a distinguished career as a composer, arranger, instrumentalist and conductor. The strain of running the large band adversely affected Mitchell’s health, and he dissolved it in 1956, losing a good deal of money. He re-formed the Trio in 1957, and also continued to appear as a soloist in cabaret, and accompany visiting stars from abroad. In 1961, the Trio appeared with the immensely popular vocal duo Nina And Frederik on the Royal Variety Performance. A year later, Mitchell joined with Henry Howard and comedian-scriptwriter Bob Monkhouse to set up Mitchell, Monkhouse Associates in order to write and produce television commercials. From then on he was responsible for numerous background scores for projects such as That Kind Of Girl and Yellow Teddy Bears, as well as composing hundreds of jingles, and the music for Mad Movies and Golden Silents. Mitchell, Monkhouse was also a pioneer company in the corporate conference field. Mitchell himself re-formed the Trio in 1997 for the Ellington ’97 Conference in Leeds, England.