The Mitchell-Ruff Duo

Pianist Dwike Mitchell and bassist Willie Ruff(also a talented French horn player) first met in the late '40s when they were serving in the Army and playing in a band at the Lockbourne Air Force Base in Ohio. In 1954 they were both members of Lionel Hampton's Big Band and within a year they broke away to form the Mitchell-Ruff Duo. The Mitchell-Ruff Duo have since worked on and off for over 50 years, performing on various occasions into the 21st century. The early high points of the duo's existence included touring the Soviet Union in 1959 (they were the first U.S. jazz musicians in Russia since World War II, helping to pave the way for Benny Goodman's tour of 1962), playing for Lyndon Johnson in Mexico in 1966, visiting China in 1981, and recording in a trio with Dizzy Gillespie. The Mitchell-Ruff Duo have recorded for Epic(1955-1956 and 1966), Roulette(1957-1960), Atlantic(1961 and 1965), Mainstream(1969), and Kepler(1983). ~ Scott Yanow

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