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George Coleman

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Biography

George Coleman's highest visibility occurred when he was a member of the Miles Davis Quintet (1963-1964), playing alongside Davis, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams. His decision to leave the group after several notable recordings cut short his potential fame (his eventual replacement was Wayne Shorter), but Coleman has created a great deal of rewarding music since. Part of the rich Memphis jazz scene of the early '50s, he started playing in blues bands in the South (including with B.B. King in 1952 and 1955-1956). He moved to Chicago in 1957 (where he played with the MJT+3), and to New York the following year. Coleman was with the Max Roach Quintet (1958-1959), Slide Hampton's octet (1959-1961), and Wild Bill Davis (1962), before joining Davis. Following that association, he was with Lionel Hampton, Elvin Jones, and Charles McPherson. Since the mid-'70s, George Coleman has mostly led his own groups, and has recorded both as a leader (for Timeless, Theresa, and Verve) and as a sideman quite frequently; one of his more notable appearances from earlier years was on Herbie Hancock's 1964 classic Maiden Voyage. ~ Scott Yanow

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Years Active:

'50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s