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JOHNNY COLES:
Stomach Cancer....Dec. 21, 1997
Age 71
 
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WARM JAZZ TRUMPETER

          Johnny Coles, a trumpeter and fluegelhornist who illuminated some of the best jazz groups of the
          1950s and '60s with his warm, soft sound, died on Dec. 21 at University of Pennsylvania
          Hospital in Philadelphia. He was 71.

          The cause was stomach cancer, said Darlene Drummond, his niece.

          Coles was born in Trenton, N.J., and his family moved to Philadelphia when he was still a child.
          There he joined a pool of first-rate jazz musicians who would move on to New York and greater
          recognition. Among them were Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath and John Coltrane.

          Coles' style had a connection to Miles Davis, and arranger Gil Evans hired him for many recording
          sessions in the early 1960s. Besides taking part in the trumpet section of the famous Evans-Davis
          collaborations "Porgy and Bess" and "Sketches of Spain," Coles contributed some well-known solos
          to Evans' 1960 album "Out of the Cool." He also recorded under his own name for the Epic and
          Blue Note labels.

          In 1964 he toured with Charles Mingus. Later in the decade he was a member of Herbie Hancock's
          sextet and toured with Ray Charles. He performed with Duke Ellington and Count Basie in the
          1970s. He also played in the early incarnation of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis band and was a regular
          presence around New York as a leader and a sideman in groups that paid tribute to Count Basie,
          Charles Mingus and Tadd Dameron.

          No immediate family members survive.
 
 
 

Copyright 1997 The New York Times Company

All Music Guide , Volume: 1 , # 1
 by Ron Wynn
 
                  Trumpet, flugelhorn. A mostly self-taught, sparing stylist who's always
                  eschewed high-note antics or bending, twisting maneuvers. His forte is
                  squeezing the most into a few notes, reminiscent of Miles Davis. He has worked
                  with Philly Joe Jones, James Moody, Gil Evans, George Coleman, Herbie
                  Hancock, Ray Charles, Charles Mingus, and Duke Ellington. The impressive list
                  displays his ability to fit into a large orchestra or a tight, small combo.
                  Very few of his own albums are available.

                  ~ Ron Wynn




 
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