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Willie Mitchell, 81, a celebrated trumpeter, arranger and producer for Hi Records who launched the careers of Al Green and other leading soul performers of the 1970s, died of cardiac arrest Jan. 5 at a hospital in Memphis.

In a career spanning six decades, Mr. Mitchell proved a hitmaker as a producer for singers such as Ann Peebles, Otis Clay, Syl Johnson and Denise LaSalle. He also worked with a wide range of rock performers including Rod Stewart and John Mayer

Mr. Mitchell first made an impression as an instrumentalist. His 10-piece rhythm and blues group signed with Hi Records in 1959 and recorded a string of successful soul instrumentals, including the funk groove "20-75" (1964) and a remake of King Curtis's ballad "Soul Serenade" (1968).
thx chuck
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