From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Coleman, William Johnson "Bill" (musician)

(born: 1904  -  died: 1981) 

Bill Coleman, born in Centerville, KY, was the son of Robert H. Coleman and Roberta Johnson Coleman. The family moved to Cincinnati, OH, when William Coleman was a child. He later became a trumpet player, spending most of his adult life in Paris, France. Coleman was a jazz musician who taught himself how to read music. He toured all over Europe and a bit in Asia, returning occasionally to the U.S. to perform. His playing style was compared to Jabbo Smith's. Coleman recorded with some of the greats, including Fats Waller. The album Bill Coleman in Paris, 1936-1938 highlights some of his playing and singing. Bill Coleman later returned to France, where he continued to perform until his death in 1981. His book, Trumpet Story, tells of his music career and his travels, the title was published in French in 1981, and in English in 1989. Bill Coleman was the nephew of John A. Coleman, Sr. For more see Grove Music Online [available on the University of Kentucky campus and off campus via the proxy server]; and The World of Jazz Trumpet: a comprehensive history & practical philosophy, by S. Barnhart.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Bill Coleman in Paris, 1936-1938 (album)
NKAA Source: Trumpet story
NKAA Source: The World of jazz trumpet: a comprehensive history & practical philosophy

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Coleman, John A., Sr.

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Coleman, William Johnson "Bill" (musician),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed August 9, 2020,

Last modified: 2017-09-14 18:27:40