Jazz bassist Major “Mule” Holley, a Detroit native, began playing the violin at age 7 and learned the tuba and every other wind-related instrument in the bass family as well as piano during a 1940s stint in the Navy. His first professional gig was in San Diego in 1946 where he performed in an ensemble led by saxophonists Wardell Gray and Dexter Gordon. He moved to New York after getting out of the service.
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