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Bill Coleman

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A mellow-toned swing trumpeter with a distinctive sound and a lyrical style, Bill Coleman was a consistent if never particularly famous musician. In 1927, he went to New York with Cecil and Lloyd Scott's band, with whom he made his recording debut. He worked with Luis Russell (1929-1932) and Charlie Johnson, and then in 1933 traveled to France with Lucky Millinder. Coleman recorded with Fats Waller (1934) and played with Teddy Hill's Orchestra (1934-1935), but then moved to France for the first time in 1935. While overseas, he recorded frequently as a leader (really coming into his own), with Willie Lewis' Orchestra, and on dates with Django Reinhardt. He ventured as far as Bombay, and spent 1938-1940 in Egypt with Herman Chittison. Returning to New York, Coleman played with Benny Carter, Teddy Wilson, Andy Kirk, Mary Lou Williams, and John Kirby during 1940-1945, and recorded with Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins (both in 1943). However, he preferred life in Europe and, after a period with groups led by Sy Oliver and Billy Kyle, in 1948, Coleman moved permanently back to France, staying active and recording fairly regularly up until his death in 1981. ~ Scott Yanow

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Birth Name:

William Johnson Coleman


04 August 1904 in Paris, KY

Years Active:

'20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s