George Coleman

George Coleman

born on 8/3/1935 in Memphis, TN, United States

George Coleman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

George Edward Coleman (born March 8, 1935) is an American jazz saxophonist known for his work with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock in the 1960s. In 2015, he was named an NEA Jazz Master.[1]

Early life

Coleman was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He was taught how to play the alto saxophone in his teens by his older brother Lucian Adams, inspired (like many jazz musicians of his generation) by Charlie Parker. Among his schoolmates were Harold Mabern, Booker Little, Frank Strozier, Hank Crawford, and Charles Lloyd.[2]

Later life and career

After working with Ray Charles, Coleman started working with B.B. King in 1953,[3] at which point he switched to tenor saxophone.[4] In 1956 Coleman moved to Chicago, along with Booker Little, where he worked with Gene Ammons and Johnny Griffin before joining Max Roach's quintet (1958–1959). Coleman recorded with organist Jimmy Smith on his album Houseparty (1957), along with Lee Morgan, Curtis Fuller, Kenny Burrell, and Donald Bailey. Moving to New York City with Max Roach in that year, he went on to play with Slide Hampton (1959–1962), Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, and Wild Bill Davis (1962), before joining Miles Davis' quintet in 1963–1964.[5]

His albums with Davis (and the rhythm section of Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums)) are Seven Steps to Heaven (1963), A Rare Home Town Appearance (1963), Côte Blues (1963), In Europe (1963), My Funny Valentine, and Four & More, both live recordings of a concert in Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City in February 1964. Shortly after this concert, Coleman was replaced by Wayne Shorter. Nevertheless, Davis retained a high opinion of Coleman's playing, stating that "George played everything almost perfectly...He was a hell of a musician." Coleman played with Lionel Hampton (1965–1966), also in 1965 on Chet Baker's The Prestige Sessions, with Kirk Lightsey, Herman Wright, and Roy Brooks.[6] Clark Terry, Horace Silver, Elvin Jones (1968), Shirley Scott (1972), Cedar Walton (1975), Charles Mingus (1977–1978), Ahmad Jamal (1994, 2000), and many others.

Coleman also appeared in the science-fiction film Freejack (1992), starring Emilio Estevez, Mick Jagger, and Anthony Hopkins; and 1996's The Preacher's Wife, with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston.[7]

Coleman recorded into the 2000s. His CD as co-leader, Four Generations of Miles: A Live Tribute To Miles, with bassist Ron Carter, drummer Jimmy Cobb and guitarist Mike Stern was released on Chesky Records in October 2002, and it concentrates almost exclusively on the 1950s repertoire of Miles Davis. Tracks include: "There Is No Greater Love", "All Blues", "On Green Dolphin Street", "Blue in Green", "81", "Freddie Freeloader", "My Funny Valentine", "If I Were a Bell", and "Oleo". He was featured on Joey DeFrancesco's 2006 release Organic Vibes, along with vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, Billboard's Top Jazz Album Chart, peaked to No. 17.[8]

Coleman was married to jazz organist Gloria Coleman and is father to jazz drummer George Coleman Jr.

He was named an NEA Jazz Master and to the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2015, and received a brass note on the Beale Street Brass Notes Walk of Fame.[9]


As leader/co-leader

Year recorded Title Label Notes
1977 Meditation Timeless Duo, with Tete Montoliu (piano)
1977 Revival Catalyst; Affinity Octet; released as Big George in Europe
1978 Amsterdam After Dark Timeless Quartet, with Hilton Ruiz (piano), Sam Jones (bass), Billy Higgins (drums)
1979 Playing Changes Jazz House In concert at Ronnie Scott's
1985 Manhattan Panorama Theresa; Evidence Quartet, with Harold Mabern (piano), Jamil Nasser (bass), Idris Muhammad (drums); in concert
1989 At Yoshi's Theresa; Evidence Quartet, with Harold Mabern (piano), Ray Drummond (bass), Alvin Queen (drums); in concert
1990 Convergence Triloka Duo, with Richie Beirach (piano)
1991 My Horns of Plenty Birdology/Verve; Birdology/Dreyfus Quartet, with Harold Mabern (piano), Ray Drummond (bass), Billy Higgins (drums)
1995 Blues Inside Out Jazz House In concert at Ronnie Scott's
1996 Danger High Voltage Two & Four Octet
1998 I Could Write a Book: The Music of Richard Rodgers Telarc Quartet, with Harold Mabern (piano), Jamil Nasser (bass), Billy Higgins (drums)
2002 Four Generations of Miles: A Live Tribute To Miles Chesky Quartet, with Mike Stern (guitar), Ron Carter (bass), Jimmy Cobb (drums); in concert
2016 A Master Speaks Smoke Sessions Most tracks quartet, with Mike LeDonne (piano), Bob Cranshaw (bass), George Coleman Jr. (drums); one track quintet, with Peter Bernstein (guitar) added

As sideman

With Chet Baker

  • Smokin' with the Chet Baker Quintet (Prestige, 1965)
  • Groovin' with the Chet Baker Quintet (Prestige, 1965)
  • Comin' On with the Chet Baker Quintet (Prestige, 1965)
  • Cool Burnin' with the Chet Baker Quintet (Prestige, 1965)
  • Boppin' with the Chet Baker Quintet (Prestige, 1965)

With Roy Brooks

  • The Free Slave [live] (Muse, 1970 [rel. 1972])

With Paul (PB) Brown

  • Paul Brown Quartet Meets The Three Tenors (Brownstone, 1998)

With Brian Charette

  • Groovin' with Big G (Steeplechase, 2018) - with Vic Juris, George Coleman Jr.

With Miles Davis

  • Seven Steps to Heaven (Columbia, 1963)
  • Miles Davis in Europe [live] (Columbia, 1963)
  • Live at the 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival [live] (Monterey Jazz Festival Records, 2007)
  • My Funny Valentine [live] (Columbia, 1964)
  • Four & More [live] (Columbia, 1964 [rel. 1966])

With Joey DeFrancesco

With Charles Earland

  • Soul Crib (Choice, 1969)
  • Smokin' (Muse, 1969/1977 [rel. 1977])
  • Mama Roots (Muse, 1969/1977 [rel. 1977])

With Red Garland

  • So Long Blues (Galaxy, 1979 [rel. 1981])
  • Strike Up the Band (Galaxy, 1979 [rel. 1981])

With Slide Hampton

  • Slide Hampton and His Horn of Plenty (Strand, 1959)
  • Sister Salvation (Atlantic, 1960)
  • Somethin' Sanctified (Atlantic, 1961)
  • Jazz with a Twist (Atlantic, 1962)
  • Drum Suite (Epic, 1962)
  • Exodus (Philips, 1962 [rel. 1964])

With Herbie Hancock

With Johnny Hartman

  • Today (Perception, 1972)

With Ahmad Jamal

  • The Essence Part One (Birdology/Verve, 1995)
  • Ahmad Jamal à l'Olympia [live] (Dreyfus, 2000)

With Elvin Jones

  • Live at the Village Vanguard (Enja, 1968)
  • Poly-Currents (Blue Note, 1969)
  • Coalition (Blue Note, 1970)
  • Time Capsule (Vanguard, 1977)

With Booker Little

  • Booker Little 4 and Max Roach (United Artists 1957)
  • Booker Little and Friend (Bethlehem, 1961)

With Harold Mabern

  • A Few Miles from Memphis (Prestige, 1968)
  • Rakin' and Scrapin' (Prestige, 1968)
  • Workin' & Wailin' (Prestige, 1969)

With Jack McDuff

  • A Change Is Gonna Come (Atlantic, 1966)

With Charles Mingus

  • Three or Four Shades of Blues (Atlantic, 1977)

With Lee Morgan

  • City Lights (Blue Note, 1957)
  • Sonic Boom (Blue Note, 1966)

With Idris Muhammad

  • Kabsha (Theresa, 1980)

With Don Patterson

  • Oh Happy Day (Prestige, 1969) - reissued on CD as Dem New York Dues
  • Tune Up! (Prestige, 1969)

With John Patton

  • Memphis to New York Spirit (Blue Note, 1969)

With Duke Pearson

  • Honeybuns (Atlantic, 1965)
  • Prairie Dog (Atlantic, 1966)

With Max Roach

  • The Max Roach 4 Plays Charlie Parker (Emarcy, 1958)
  • Max Roach + 4 on the Chicago Scene (Emarcy, 1958)
  • Max Roach + 4 at Newport (Emarcy, 1958)
  • Deeds, Not Words (Riverside, 1958)
  • Award-Winning Drummer (Time, 1958)
  • The Many Sides of Max (Mercury, 1959)

With Shirley Scott

  • Lean on Me (Cadet, 1972)

With Jimmy Smith

  • House Party (Blue Note, 1957–58)
  • The Sermon! (Blue Note, 1958)

With Louis Smith

  • Just Friends (Steeplechase, 1982)

With Melvin Sparks

  • Akilah! (Prestige, 1972)

With Charles Tolliver

  • Impact (Strata-East, 1975)

With Roseanna Vitro

  • Reaching for the Moon (Chase Music Group, 1991)
  • Softly (Concord, 1993)

With Mal Waldron

With Cedar Walton

With Reuben Wilson

  • Love Bug (Blue Note, 1969)


  1. ^ "NEA Announces Lifetime Honors Recipients". National Endowment for the Arts. National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  2. ^ Vladimir, Bogdanov. All Music Guide to the Blues: The Definitive Guide to the Blues, Backbeat Books, page 133, (2003) -
This page was last modified 08.03.2019 22:32:49

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