Henry Coker (December 24, 1919 – November 23, 1979)[1] was an American jazz trombonist.

Henry Coker
Born(1919-12-24)December 24, 1919
Dallas, Texas
DiedNovember 23, 1979(1979-11-23) (aged 59)
Los Angeles, California


Coker was born in Dallas, Texas, United States.[1] He made his professional debut with John White in 1935.[1] From 1937 to 1939 he played with Nat Towles's territory band, then moved to Hawaii to play with Monk McFay.[1] After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Coker returned to California, playing with Benny Carter (1944–46), Illinois Jacquet (1945), Eddie Heywood (1946–47), and Charles Mingus (late 1940s).[1] Coker fell ill from 1949 to 1951 and played little. After his recovery he worked with Sonny Rollins and then joined Count Basie's band, playing and recording with him from 1952 to 1963.[1]

Coker worked as a studio musician in the 1960s, then toured with Ray Charles from 1966 to 1971.[1] He worked freelance and in film and television studios in the mid-1970s, returning to Basie briefly in 1973 and Charles in 1976.[1] 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.

Coker died in Los Angeles at the age of 59.[1]


With Count Basie

With others


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 521. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.

Other sourcesEdit