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The Arts Foundation Of Olde Towne is a neighborhood based, Arts & Humanities incubator that serves to host and produce projects that are about, or initiated by residents from the Near East Area of the City Of Columbus, Ohio.

Mitchell Ruff Duo


Dwike Ivory Mitchell
Birthplace: Dunedin, FL
Instrument: piano
Group: Mitchell Ruff Duo
Description: Following World War II, many African-American professionals including pilots, doctors, lawyers, engineers, and musicians were stationed at Lockbourne Air Force Base. John Brice, director of the band at the base, suddenly found himself with a windfall of musical talent. Brice formed a concert band and two Jazz bands that became the envy of many musicians in the military and everybody wanted to transfer to Columbus.


Pfc. Dwike "Ivory" Mitchell Jr., of Dunedin, Florida, was a 17 year old pianist stationed at the base. He was a huge hit on the local music scene in 1947. A regular participant at the Ohio State University Jazz Forum concerts, Mitchell also displayed a firm grasp of classical music. He was a featured performer on WCOL radio's "Partyline." Born in Sheffield, Alabama, Willie Ruff was a French horn player also stationed at LAFB. It was here that he began to play the bass and became Mitchell's musical partner. In 1955, while playing in Lionell Hampton's band, they decided to form the Mitchell-Ruff Duo.


Known as musical risk-takers, perhaps their most daring venture happened in 1959. While touring Russia, they posed as members of a University choral group and staged an impromptu Jazz concert at Tchaikovsky Conservatory, in direct defiance of the State's ban on Jazz.


Story by: David Meyers


Pictured L-R: Dwike Mitchell, Willie Ruff

For a glossy print of this image refer to ID# ARC04-20

©2000 A.F.O.O.T.




Willie Ruff
Instrument: French horn
Group: Mitchell Ruff Duo
Description: Following World War II, many African-American professionals including pilots, doctors, lawyers, engineers, and musicians were stationed at Lockbourne Air Force Base.
John Brice, director of the band at the base, suddenly found himself with a windfall of musical talent. Brice formed a concert band and two Jazz bands that became the envy of many musicians in the military and everybody wanted to transfer to Columbus.


Pfc. Dwike "Ivory" Mitchell Jr., of Dunedin, Florida, was a 17 year old pianist stationed at the base. He was a huge hit on the local music scene in 1947. A regular participant at the Ohio State University Jazz Forum concerts, Mitchell also displayed a firm grasp of classical music. He was a featured performer on WCOL radio's "Partyline."
Born in Sheffield, Alabama, Willie Ruff was a French horn player also stationed at LAFB. It was here that he began to play the bass and became Mitchell's musical partner. In 1955, while playing in Lionell Hampton's band, they decided to form the Mitchell-Ruff Duo.


Known as musical risk-takers, perhaps their most daring venture happened in 1959. While touring Russia, they posed as members of a University choral group and staged an impromptu Jazz concert at Tchaikovsky Conservatory, in direct defiance of the State's ban on Jazz.


Story by: David Meyers


Pictured L-R: Dwike Mitchell,
Willie Ruff

For a glossy print of this image refer to ID# ARC04-20A

©2000 A.F.O.O.T.






Dwike Ivory Mitchell
Birthplace: Dunedin, FL
Instrument: Piano
Group: Mitchell Ruff Duo
Description: Following World War II, Lockbourne Air Force Base attracted many African-American professionals including pilots, doctors, lawyers, engineers, and musicians.
John Brice, director of the band at the base, suddenly found himself with a windfall of musical talent. Brice formed a concert band and two Jazz bands that became the envy of many musicians in the military and many wanted to transfer to Columbus.


Pfc. Dwike "Ivory" Mitchell Jr., of Dunedin, Florida, was a 17 year old pianist stationed at the base. He was a huge hit on the local music scene in 1947. A regular participant at the Ohio State University Jazz Forum concerts, Mitchell also displayed a firm grasp of classical music. He was a featured performer on WCOL radio's "Partyline."
Born in Sheffield, Alabama, Willie Ruff was a French horn player also stationed at LAFB where he began to play the bass and became Mitchell's musical partner. In 1955, while playing in Lionell Hampton's band, they decided to form the Mitchell-Ruff Duo.


Known as musical risk-takers,
perhaps their most daring venture happened in 1959. While touring Russia, they posed as members of a University choral group and staged an impromptu Jazz concert at Tchaikovsky Conservatory, in direct defiance of the State's ban on Jazz.

story by Dave Meyers


Pictured L-R: Dwike Mitchell, Willie Ruff

For a glossy print of this image refer to ID# ARC04-27

©2000 A.F.O.O.T.






Willie Ruff
Instrument: French horn
Group: Mitchell Ruff Duo
Description: Following World War II, Lockbourne Air Force Base attracted many African-American professionals including pilots, doctors, lawyers, engineers, and musicians.
John Brice, director of the band at the base, suddenly found himself with a windfall of musical talent. Brice formed a concert band and two Jazz bands that became the envy of many musicians in the military and many wanted to transfer to Columbus.


Pfc. Dwike "Ivory" Mitchell Jr., of Dunedin, Florida, was a 17 year old pianist stationed at the base. He was a huge hit on the local music scene in 1947. A regular participant at the Ohio State University Jazz Forum concerts, Mitchell also displayed a firm grasp of classical music. He was a featured performer on WCOL radio's "Partyline."
Born in Sheffield, Alabama, Willie Ruff was a French horn player also stationed at LAFB where he began to play the bass and became Mitchell's musical partner. In 1955, while playing in Lionell Hampton's band, they decided to form the Mitchell-Ruff Duo.


Known as musical risk-takers,
perhaps their most daring venture happened in 1959. While touring Russia, they posed as members of a University choral group and staged an impromptu Jazz concert at Tchaikovsky Conservatory, in direct defiance of the State's ban on Jazz.

story by Dave Meyers


Pictured L-R: Dwike Mitchell, Willie Ruff

For a glossy print of this image refer to ID# ARC04-27A

©2000 A.F.O.O.T.