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Mick Mulligan


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Peter Sidney “Mick” Mulligan (January 24, 1928, Middlesex - December 20, 2006) was an English jazz trumpeter and bandleader, best known for his presence on the trad jazz scene.

Mulligan began playing trumpet while a student at Merchant Taylors’ School. He entered into the family wine company, but was an alcoholic and eventually was pushed out of the business by his relatives. He then formed his own Magnolia Jazz Band in 1948. He met George Melly soon after; they performed together for many years and became close associates. In Melly’s memoir Owning Up, published in 1965, he detailed many of the pair’s drunken and scandalous outings, which had made them regular tabloid figures in the 1950s.

Mulligan’s orchestra included Roy Crimmins, Ian Christie, and Archie Semple; it rivaled Humphrey Lyttelton’s in popularity on the British trad jazz circuit. While he booked excellent sidemen, Mulligan was not a top-flight musician and his own playing was often hampered by intoxication; furthermore, their recording legacy is spotty because their releases were irregular and generally for small labels. Mulligan broke up his band in 1953 but reformed it a year and a half later, continuing with the new group in 1962; Melly also sang along with this ensemble.

By the early 1960s, rock & roll had whittled the enthusiasm for trad jazz to nearly nothing, and Mulligan ended the Magnolia Jazz Band to manage Melly, who was launching a solo career.

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