|Decades:||1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s|
William Johnson Coleman, 4 August 1904, Centreville, Kentucky, USA, d. 24 August 1981, Toulouse, France. Despite trying various reed instruments, Coleman switched to trumpet after hearing records by Louis Armstrong and served his apprenticeship during the late 20s and early 30s in a string of amateur, semi-pro and professional bands, including those led by J.C. Higginbotham, Edgar Hayes, Lloyd and Cecil Scott, Luis Russell, Fess Johnson, Lucky Millinder, Benny Carter, Teddy Hill and Fats Waller. By the mid-30s Colemans wide experience meant that he was in great demand, but wanderlust led him to join all-round entertainer Freddy Taylor, whom Coleman had taught to play trumpet while in the Millinder band. The Taylor band spent time in Paris and then Coleman headed for Bombay, India, with Leon Abbey, returning to Paris for an engagement with Willie Lewis. In 1938 he co-led a band with Herman Chittison, which worked in Egypt until shortly after the outbreak of...