Dolo Coker

Charles Mitchell "Dolo" Coker (November 16, 1927 – April 13, 1983) was a jazz pianist and composer who recorded four albums for Xanadu Records and extensively as a sideman, for artists like Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Lou Donaldson, Art Pepper, Philly Joe Jones, and Dexter Gordon.[1]

Dolo Coker
Born(1927-11-16)November 16, 1927
Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
DiedApril 13, 1983(1983-04-13) (aged 55)
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
Associated actsBlue Mitchell, Art Pepper


Charles Mitchell "Dolo" Coker was born in Hartford, Connecticut on November 16, 1927, raised in both Philadelphia and Florence, South Carolina. The first musical instruments Coker played in childhood were the C-melody and alto saxophones, learning them at a school in Camden, South Carolina. By the age of thirteen he was starting to play piano. Coker moved to Philadelphia, where he studied piano at the Landis School of Music and at Orenstein's Conservatory. Coker also played some shows on piano for Jimmy Heath while in Philadelphia.

He was also a member of the Frank Morgan Quartet (with Flip Greene on bass and Larance Marable on drums).

Coker did not record his own album as a leader until 1976, when he recorded his debut Dolo! with Blue Mitchell, Harold Land, Leroy Vinnegar and Frank Butler. That following day he recorded California Hard for Xanadu Records, with Art Pepper replacing Harold Land on sax. Following California Hard were Third Down and All Alone. He continued to work as a sideman for other artists until he died of cancer at the age of fifty-five on April 13, 1983.

Coker's nickname is sometimes misspelt "Dodo" in sleeve notes and books on jazz.


As leader/co-leaderEdit

Year recorded Title Label Notes
1976 Dolo! Xanadu One track trio, with Leroy Vinnegar (bass), Frank Butler (drums); most tracks quintet, with Blue Mitchell (trumpet, flugelhorn), Harold Land (tenor sax) added
1976 California Hard Xanadu Quintet, with Blue Mitchell (trumpet, flugelhorn), Art Pepper (alto sax, tenor sax), Leroy Vinnegar (bass guitar), Frank Butler (drums)
1977 Third Down Xanadu Most tracks trio, with Leroy Vinnegar (bass guitar), Frank Butler (drums); two tracks quartet, with Harry Edison (trumpet) added
1979 All Alone Xanadu Solo piano
1980 Xanadu in Africa Xanadu Quintet, co-led with Al Cohn and Billy Mitchell (tenor sax), Leroy Vinnegar (bass), Frank Butler (drums); in concert
1980 Night Flight to Dakar Xanadu Quintet, co-led with Al Cohn and Billy Mitchell (tenor sax), Leroy Vinnegar (bass), Frank Butler (drums); in concert

As sidemanEdit

With Frank Butler

With Junior Cook

With Sonny Criss

With Harry Edison

With Teddy Edwards

With Dexter Gordon

With Philly Joe Jones

With Les McCann

With Art Pepper

With Red Rodney

With Sonny Stitt