Junior Mance, born Julian Clifford Mance, Jr., in Chicago, Illinois on October 10, 1928 is a jazz pianist, composer, and recording artist of thirty plus albums as a leader and numerous recordings as a sideman. Junior began playing the piano at the age of five, but did not begin formal training until the age of eight. He started playing professionally during his early teens. He attended Roosevelt College in Chicago as music major.
In 1947 Junior left Roosevelt College to join Gene Ammons' band and began his recording career with Gene. He joined Lester Young in 1949 for almost two years, and rejoined Ammons several months in 1951 before being drafted into the U. S. Army. He served in the 36th Army Band at Fort Knox, Kentucky along with Julian Cannonball Adderley.
After his discharge from the Army in 1953, Junior became part of the house rhythm section at the Bee Hive Jazz Club in Chicago for a year, and accompanied jazz greats such as Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Sonny Stitt, and many others.
In 1954 Junior joined and toured with Dinah Washington. Among the numerous recordings he made with her, there are two that really stand out in his memory: Dinah Jams and Jam Session. They are two live albums featuring Clifford Brown, Max Roach, Clark Terry, Maynard Ferguson, Herb Geller, Harold Land, Keter Betts, George Morrow, Richie Powell and Junior.