I am so proud of my association with my late friend Bitsy Mullins.
Over a period of a few short years, we pulled together enough information about his long and illustrious career to fill a book but it was not to be.
We did however, create a series of articles (heavily edited from his reminiscences) that appeared in the magazine Memory Lane.
BITSY MULLINS TIMELINE
13th March, 1926 Born Pine Bluff, Arkansas
1932 Started playing piano aged 6 "That is at least where I learned the rudiments of music, the keys, and the time and all that."
1936 Started playing cornet aged 10.
1942 Graduated from High School,"I played in the dance band up there. A trombone player, Leo Benson, whose older sister, Lorraine, was singing with, and later married, a man by the name of Ray Herbeck who had what was kind of described in those days as a 'semi-name' band. Herbeck called me and offered me he job in 1944, but I was due to go up for an army physical and I was turned down so I called him that night and the next day I was on my way on a train to Kansas City, Missouri, to join his band."
6 September 1944 - January 1945 Ray Herbeck Orchestra
8 January 1945 to late May 1945 Randy Brooks Orchestra
June 1945 to 11 December 1945 Charlie Spivak Orchestra During this period Bitsy has his cornet stolen and he moves to trumpet
November 1945 Bitsy joins Buddy Rich's new orchestra. He works out his notice with Spivak at the Commodore Hotel and rehearses with Rich at Haven Studios New York during the day. First gig with Rich 24 December 1945 leaves June 1946
mid 1946-1948 Bitsy goes back to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR and graduates with BS Chemistry and Mathematics in Spring 1948.
Summer 1947 Bitsy played with University of Texas band and also with Buddy Morrow Orchestra
Autumn 1948 Ray McKinley Orchestra (Bitsy was working generally outside the music business for 10 months around this time)
1948-50 Bitsy runs his own 10 piece band in Little Rock, AR, then to Freeport, LA with a four piece band. Other engagements with "mouse" bands follow.
1950 Short period with Blue Steele Orchestra
Autumn 1950 - March 1951 Joe Reichman Orchestra
March 1951 Milt Chapman orchestra
Late March 1951 - Autumn 1951 Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra
Autumn 1951 - January 1952 Claude Thornhill Orchestra
February 1952 - May 1952 Ray McKinley Orchestra (Plus dates with Bob Brookmeyer's Orchestra)
May 1952 - May 1953 Tex Beneke Orchestra
May 1953 - February 1954 Ray McKinley Orchestra
13 March 1954 - 10 November 1955 Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (Featuring Jimmy Dorsey) (Bitsy moved from jazz trumpet chair to lead trumpet at this point)
November 1955 - January 1956 Ray McKinley Orchestra
1956 - October 1975 The Las Vegas Years
January 1956 - 1958 The Frontier Hotel, Las Vegas
1958 The Tropicana (with Nat Brandwyn Orchestra arranger Gordon Jenkins)
1959 The Stardust
1959 Riviera Hotel (short period as dep)
mid 1959 - 1966 The Dunes (under the leadership of Bill Reddie)
mid 1960s The Fremont Hotel