George Coleman: This Gentleman can PLAY

R.J. DeLuke By

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"There was this one kid from Iceland. He was very talented. No more than 20 years old. Good technique and everything. And we worked together. He had four or five lessons with me. The next thing I know, he was on the bill with me in London with one of his bands from Iceland. So it was a really rewarding experience to see him. I've heard from other people too. They call me up and say, ‘That one lesson I took from you was really great and I really appreciate it.' From all over.

"The rewards of my career a lot of people don't know about. But I feel good within myself. I don't publicize it," he said. He was particularly pleased by a mention that David Sanborn gave him in a People magazine interview, "because artists of his caliber would not want the world to know that they had studied with anybody. Like Kenny G. He ain't never had nobody to teach him nothing," said Coleman chuckling softly. "He learned everything himself. Those kind of guys. David Sanborn deserves all his recognition and his wealth because he is a sweetheart of a guy."

As for Coleman, pleasure isn't derived just in music. It's his life's work, but it's been work. And there are quieter times ahead that the kindly gentleman is looking forward to.

"I thank the creator every time I return home, touch down at JFK. My wife's OK and the children are fine and my friends are doing well. That's a blessing within itself. I'm in reasonably good health. When I get home I go to my health spa and hang out there. Do some walking. Sit down at the piano. I can find some diversion in retirement. I don't just sit around with nothing to do. There's a lot of things I can do without being out on the road, busting my proverbial balls."

Indeed. More power too him, but here's hoping he keeps an ear out from time to time for that saxophone calling out from the closet.
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