Henry Coker

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Henry Coker
Born (1919-12-24)December 24, 1919
Dallas, Texas
Died November 23, 1979(1979-11-23) (aged 59)
Los Angeles, California
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Trombone

Henry Coker (December 24, 1919 – November 23, 1979) was an American jazz trombonist.


Coker was born in Dallas. He studied music at Wellesley College before making his professional debut with John White in 1935. From 1937 to 1939 he played with Nat Towles's territory band, then moved to Hawaii to play with Monk McFay. After Pearl Harbor Coker returned to California, playing with Benny Carter (1944–46), Illinois Jacquet (1945), Eddie Heywood (1946–47), and Charles Mingus (late '40s). Coker fell ill from 1949 to 1951 and played little, and after his recovery he worked with Sonny Rollins and then joined Count Basie's band, playing and recording with him from 1952 to 1963.

Coker did work as a studio musician in the 1960s, then toured with Ray Charles from 1966 to 1971. He did freelance and film/television studio work in the mid-1970s, rejoining Basie briefly in 1973 and Charles in 1976. Osie Johnson wrote a tribute to him entitled "Cokernut Tree" in 1955. Coker appeared on J.J. Johnson's Trombones Incorporated session, featuring ten trombonists.

He died in Los Angeles, aged 59.

Personal life[edit]

Coker had two sons: Scott Cameron Coker, who resides in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Craig Henry Coker (August 15, 1960 – January 10, 2013).


With Count Basie

With Kenny Clarke

With Frank Foster

With Osie Johnson

With Thad Jones

With Trombones

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Freddie Green

With Tadd Dameron

With Frank Wess