Tony Coe

Tony Coe is an adventurous and versatile improviser who has been a long-standing favorite of jazzmen in England. His performances have included straight-ahead jazz and borderline Dixieland, as well as post-bop and free. However, he has kept his strong musical personality intact through his entire career. Coe began on clarinet, and was later self-taught to play tenor. He was a member of an Army band from 1953 to 1956 and played in Humphrey Lyttelton’s mainstream group from 1957-1962. Coe subsequently led his own band (1962-1964) and was offered a place with Count Basie’s Orchestra. However, difficulties with immigration prevented that from happening. Coe’s versatility was evident in the late 1960s. He played with John Dankworth’s bigband (1966-1969), and the Kenny Clarke–Francy Boland Orchestra (1967-1973), but he also collaborated with Derek Bailey’s avant-garde Company Stan Tracey and several other groups. It was also a benefit to be associated with the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble and the Mike Gibbs large band. Coe’s tenor, which is prominently featured in Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther films, has also been known for writing advanced works for orchestras. He was awarded the Danish Jazzpar Prize in 1995. Coe was most influenced by Paul Gonsalves’ tenor. He is also a fluent clarinetist and has led sessions on a number of European labels, including Nixa. Allmusic

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