born on 24/12/1919 in Dallas, TX, United States
died on 23/11/1979 in Los Angeles, CA, United States
Henry Coker (December 24, 1919, Dallas - November 23, 1979, Los Angeles) was an American jazz trombonist.
Coker 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 he returned to California, playing with Benny Carter (194446), Illinois Jacquet (1945), Eddie Heywood (194647), and Charles Mingus (late '40s). He fell ill from 1949-1951 and played little, but 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 also appears on J.J. Johnson's Trombones Incorporated session, featuring ten trombonists.
He is survived by two sons, Scott Cameron Coker who currently resides in Brooklyn N.Y., and his oldest, Craig Henry Coker (8-15-60 to 1-10-13).
With Dizzy Gillespie
- The Greatest Trumpet of Them All (Verve, 1957)
- [Henry Coker at All Music Guide Henry Coker] at Allmusic
- Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler, The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. Oxford, 1999, p. 137.