George Coleman performs two numbers with his Quartet during an appearance on the early 1980's tv show "The Jazz Series."
George Edward Coleman was born on March 8, 1935 in Memphis, Tennessee. The American hard bop saxophonist, bandleader, and composer, is known mainly for his work with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock in the 1960s.
George taught himself to play the alto saxophone in his teens, 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. After working with Ray Charles, Coleman started working with B.B. King in 1953, at which point he switched to tenor saxophone. In 1956 Coleman moved to Chicago, along with Booker Little, where he worked with Gene Ammons and Johnny Griffin before joining Max Roach Quintet 1958–1959. Coleman recorded with organist Jimmy Smith's Houseparty (1957), with Lee Morgan, Curtis Fuller, Kenny Burrell, and Donald Bailey. Moving to New York 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.
Coleman also appeared in the film Freejack, the 1992 science-fiction film with Emilio Estevez, Mick Jagger, and Anthony Hopkins; and 1996’s The Preacher's Wife with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston.
Coleman is still recording. 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. He was featured on Joey DeFrancesco's 2006 release Organic Vibes, along with vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, Billboard's Top Jazz Album, peaked to No. 17.