Coates, John (Francis Jr.)

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Coates, John (Francis Jr.)

Coates, John (Francis Jr.), jazz pianist; b. Trenton, N.J., Feb. 17, 1938. He made his first recordings while in high school, playing with Kenny Clarke and Wendell Marshall. Coates joined Charlie Ventura’s band (1956; recording 1957), after which he left to attend Rutgers Univ. A local legend in Trenton, his trio accompanied visiting stars Coleman Hawkins, Clark Terry, Joe Newman, and Zoot Sims (1965). Coates eventually wound up an editor, composer, and arranger for the Shawnee Press, Pa., and also played at the Deer Head Inn with such visiting musicians as Keith Jarrett, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, and Phil Woods. He did much of his recording as a leader (1974–80), quitting Shawnee Press in 1977 to devote full attention to playing and writing. His solo piano explorations have reportedly influenced or at least been admired by Keith Jarrett.


Portrait (1955); Jazz Piano of John Coates Jr.(1974); Alone and Live at the Deer Head (1977); After the Before (1978); Tokyo Concert (1979).

—Lewis Porter