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Barry Kernfeld

jazz trumpeter and cornetist, was born in Louisville, Kentucky. His widowed mother, whose name is unknown, worked as a maid. Nothing is known of his father. When Mitchell was about twelve years old he became interested in music through a friend, Leonard Fields, who had a cornet (or, by another account, an alto horn). Mitchell began taking lessons from Fields's father, a member of the Louisville Musical Club Brass Band, the leading African American ensemble in the city. A year later his mother bought him a trumpet. By 1912 or 1913 Mitchell was a member of the congregational marching brass band of St. Augustine Church, and soon thereafter he joined the Louisville Music Club Brass Band, playing concert band music and ragtime. He learned to improvise while working with this ensemble and with dance and theater orchestras drawn from within the club's ranks and led by Wilbur Winstead ...