This year the Gulf Coast Ethnic & Heritage festival will be inducting a great Mobilian into our Jazz Hall of Fame.
Dr. Joseph Mitchell
A consummate musician, Joseph Clovis Mitchell plays over two hundred varieties of ethnic flutes and reed instruments including the Scottish Highland Windpipes, Western concert C, alto, and bass flutes, oboe, bassoons and saxophones, Baroque Recorders, Penny Whistles, Bird and Bone Whistles. He also performs on electronic wind-controlled midi synthesizers. He plays African finger pianos: Kalimba and Mabira, and is studying several vocalizing ductless wind instruments of the indigenous people of Australia and North American
He has performed with or provided opening concerts for numerous groups, including Gladys Knight and The Pips, Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby Humphrey, Ramsey Lewis Trio, Count Basie Orchestra, Roy Merriwether, Ray Charles, Spyro Gyra, Betty Carter Trio, Ellis Marsalis, Nancy Wilson, Lou Rawls, The E.B. Coleman Orchestra, The Atlanta Symphony, The Atlanta University String and Reeds Ensemble and the Mobile Jazz Festival All-Stars. He has performed with the Mobile Pop Symphony on tenor saxophone. In Atlanta Georgia, he led the Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz octet, “NovaRingo,” for two years. He currently leads the jazz group, “Suite,” under trio, quartet and sextet configurations. He has performed under the auspices of the Mobile Arts Council for the annual Arts Showcase, both as a solo flautist and with his ensemble, Suite. Of recent, he has performed with Grammy Nominated recording artist, Sherry Winston.
He has performed on jazz sets and in jazz clubs in New Orleans, Louisiana. At the North Rampart Street jazz nightspot, LU and Charlie’s. Mitchell performed with such masters as Ellis Marsalis, James Rivers, James Black, Henry Butler, Alvin Baptiste, and Vigor Fisher. He performed at numerous New Orleans jazz clubs, dance bars and “joints,” including Bourbon Street’s “Big Daddy’s” on tenor saxophone and flute with the jazz quartet, Lucky Roach. He was a regular morning and afternoon “street” musician around Jackson Square playing in the company of such noted New Orleans personalities as trumpeter and City Coroner, Dr. Frank Minyard.
He has performed in both Mobile Jazz Festival and Bay Fest Stages Projects. He has performed in the Festival of Old Men, held in Dakar Senegal, West Africa and several celebration galas in Jeddah, Riyadh, and Dhahran Saudi Arabia. Most notably, he is a founding member of the Board of Directors for the Gulf Coast Ethnic and Heritage Jazz Festival, Inc., and worked to stage presentations through raising hundreds of thousands of dollars over a ten-year operation. Locally, he has performed instrumentally with numerous gospel vocal groups including Spiritual Vibes, Mt. Hebron Baptist Church, Truevine Missionary Baptist Church and The Metropolitan AME Church Senior Choir. He has also performed in gospel workshops and performed with the Cedar Grove Gospel Workshop and Mass Choir.
Dr. Mitchell’s hobbies include jazz and gospel music (listening or performance), ethnic reed instrumentation design and construction, blade skating and Bullseye (.38 and .45)
He is the spouse of Janetta Whitt-Mitchell and son-in-law of the Late Mr. Charlie Whitt and the Late Mrs. Mary Lee Whitt.