BORN IN LAUREL, Mississippi, Mundell left home at the age of thirteen. After working in Nashville, he found his way to Bourbon Street in New Orleans and the beginning of his jazz career. While serving in World War Il, he met the influential John Hammond, who introduced him to Ray McKinley. Mundell worked with McKinley’s band for a year and a half, developing his distinctive instrumental style, and then moved on to work in New York at Café Society and stints at the Village Vanguard and The Embers, among others. Mundell worked with Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Helen Humes and Charles Mingus, to name but a few. These gigs overlapped with an early morning TV show at NBC with Cy Coleman, “A Date in Manhattan,” and later “The Kate Smith Hour” with Stan Getz, Doc Severinsen, and Kai Winding.
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