Bill Coleman

The great swing trumpeter stretches out

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Bill Coleman (1904-81) was an excellent swing trumpeter who was born in a small town (Centreville, Kentucky) that was ironically near Paris, Kentucky; he would be spending much of his life in Paris, France.

He grew up in Cincinnati, played clarinet before switching to trumpet when he was 12, worked locally, and moved to New York in 1927, freelancing with many groups including being a member of Luis Russell’s band during 1929-30.

Coleman visited Europe for the first time in 1933 while a member of Lucky Millinder’s orchestra, moved overseas in 1935, and became a jazz star, leading sessions, recording with Django Reinhardt and traveling as far away as Egypt.

Other than returning to the U.S. during the war years (including recording with Lester Young), he spent most of his life living and playing in Europe.

This swinging version of “Perdido” has Bill Coleman jamming the standard with the rhythm section of Roman’s New Orleans Jazz Band in Italy.

-Scott Yanow


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