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Offline Tallman

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Fitzroy Coleman on 100 greatest jazz guitarist list
« on: July 29, 2007, 06:55:57 AM »
Fitzroy Coleman on 100 greatest jazz guitarist list
By Wayne Bowman (Trinidad Express)


"Fitzroy Coleman fingers dancing on the fret
And when they think he done, he ent start nothing yet.."


David Rudder, Calypso
Music, 1987

Veteran local guitarist, Fitzroy Coleman has been named as one of the top 100 greatest jazz guitarists ever in a poll conducted by the popular music website known as DigitalDreamDoor.com. Coleman stands at number 93 on a list that includes the likes of Wes Montgomery who is number one and George Benson who is at number 21.

Jazz musicians and lovers of the genre from around the world send in their votes for the poll the criteria of which is that the musicians must possess and exude originality, versatility, significant impact and influence within the genre. They are also chosen for their innovations and the technical ability for improvisation as well as musical expression in addition to their compositional skill and creative inspiration.

Eighty-five-year-old Coleman was born in Alfredo Street, Woodbrook. His father was a steamroller driver who played the guitar as a hobby. He did not want young Fitzroy to touch his prized instrument and so he fashioned a home-made guitar for the young Coleman by nailing a flat pan to a piece of wood and stringing marling on it. Eventually Coleman got fed-up with the contraption and whenever his father was at work or went out he picked up the real guitar and taught himself how to play.

Even as a youth Coleman was inventing chord constructions and progressions while he attempted to play the popular music of the day.

His father caught him one day, but realising that the young man had learnt to play well without any teaching, began to allow him to use it freely. Coleman and friends would go walking through the streets of St Clair playing their music in front of the homes there and be given coins by the residents. They made good money doing this.

Coleman then came to the attention of Captain Arthur Cipriani, who took the young man to perform at dances and concerts in the Princes Building and the Royal Victoria Institute. In 1942 Coleman joined the Len Woodley orchestra and by 1945 he was heading off to England to be a part of a Caribbean music band being put together by a man named, Al Jennings.

Coleman was considered to be among the top jazz guitarists of the day across Britain, Europe and the United States.

He played regularly on the BBC and accompanied the likes of Mahalia Jackson, Tony Bennet, Eartha Kit, Lena Horne, Kitchener, Roaring Lion and Beginner.

Coleman returned to Trinidad in 1975 and became frustrated over the lacklustre way he was received by the music fraternity and people in general. He remained virtually unremembered and unknown to a generation for years until David Rudder reminded everyone of the name Fitzroy Coleman through the line, "Fitzroy Coleman fingers dancing on the fret" in the song entitled "Calypso Music" in 1987.

Then everyone from the music arena in Trinidad seemed to flock to his feet. But across the rest of the globe he was always a legendary icon of jazz and calypso.

The complete list of the 100 greatest jazz guitarists of all time:

1. Wes Montgomery
2. Django Reinhardt
3. Pat Metheny
4. Joe Pass
5. Charlie Christian
6. John McLaughlin
7. Allan Holdsworth
8. Grant Green
9. John Scofield
10. Jim Hall
11. Larry Coryell
12. Kenny Burrell
13. Bill Frisell
14. Larry Carlton
15. Pat Martino
16. Mike Stern
17. Al DiMeola
18. Lenny Breau
19. Herb Ellis
20. John Abercrombie
21. George Benson
22. Lee Ritenour
23. Tal Farlow
24. Lonnie Johnson
25. Eddie Lang
26. Robert Conti
27. Johnny Smith
28. Bill Connors
29. George Van Eps
30. Jimmy Bruno
31. Jimmy Raney
32. Hank Garland
33. Joe Diorio
34. Barney Kessel
35. Kurt Rosenwinkel
36. Oscar Moore
37. Les Paul
38. Jeff Golub
39. Ed Bickert
40. Russ Freeman
41. Derek Bailey
42. Charlie Hunter
43. Martin Taylor
44. Howard Roberts
45. Stanley Jordan
46. Ralph Towner
47. Chet Atkins
48. Scott Henderson
49. George Barnes
50. Gabor Szabo
51. Mark Stefani
52. Thom Rotella
53. Nick Webb
54. Charley Byrd
55. Ted Greene
56. Billy Bauer
57. Henry Johnson
58. Billy Bean
59. Sonny Greenwich
60. Dean Parks
61. Steve Khan
62. Frank Gambale
63. Andy Summers
64. Russell Malone
65. Ronny Jordan
66. Bireli Lagrene
67. Earl Klugh
68. Grant Geissman
69. Carl Kress
70. Harry Volpe
71. Buzz Feiten
72. Lorne Lofsky
73. Nguyen Le
74. Robben Ford
75. Daryl Stuermer
76. Phil Upchurch
77. Ulf Wakenius
78. Hiram Bullock
79. Sonny Sharrock
80. John Pizzarelli
81. Tony Mottola
82. Bucky Pizzarelli
83. Norman Brown
84. Tiny Grimes
85. Tommy Tedesco
86. Mark Whitfield
87. Julio Fernandez
88. Marc Ribot
89. Greg Carmichael
90. John Pisano
91. Emily Remler
92. Brian Hughes
93. Fitzroy Coleman
94. Mick Goodrick
95. Kevin Eubanks
96. Ken Navarro
97. Wolfgang Muthspiel
98. Tuck Andress
99. Robert Normann
100. Howard Alden
The Conquering Lion of Judah shall break every chain.

Offline Organic

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Re: Fitzroy Coleman on 100 greatest jazz guitarist list
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2007, 08:17:04 AM »
Read this on de express this morning.  :applause: :applause: :applause: :applause:
Have to admit never heard of him before "Calypso Music". After that did a lil searching, he was real unappreciated by trinis, real talent. Then again whats new? Has he ever recived any recognition at all? i mean even a national award during the independance day celebrations? Ah lil comehting self.
 :beermug: :beermug: :beermug:
Perhaps the epitome of a Trinidadian is the child in the third row class with a dark skin and crinkly plaits who looks at you out of decidedly Chinese eyes and announces herself as Jacqueline Maharaj.- Merle Hodge

Offline Tallman

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Re: Fitzroy Coleman on 100 greatest jazz guitarist list
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2007, 10:17:25 AM »
Has he ever received any recognition at all? i mean even a national award during the independance day celebrations? Ah lil somehting self.
He get two three ting:
  • 2007 - Honored at the Jazz Artists on the Greens festival
  • 2006 - Received a GLOSS (Gems, Laventille, Outstanding, Spirit and Soul) award
  • 1999 - Trinidad & Tobago Humming Bird Medal Silver for Culture

Check dis: Fitzroy Coleman's fingers dancing on the fret again
The Conquering Lion of Judah shall break every chain.

Offline Organic

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Re: Fitzroy Coleman on 100 greatest jazz guitarist list
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2007, 10:30:37 AM »
Has he ever received any recognition at all? i mean even a national award during the independance day celebrations? Ah lil somehting self.
He get two three ting:
  • 2007 - Honored at the Jazz Artists on the Greens festival
  • 2006 - Received a GLOSS (Gems, Laventille, Outstanding, Spirit and Soul) award
  • 1999 - Trinidad & Tobago Humming Bird Medal Silver for Culture

Check dis: Fitzroy Coleman's fingers dancing on the fret again
now this one tricky...ANY one (tallman really) have the 1999 pan ramajay cd or recordings so mankind can hear ah lil tune? or anyother work by him which thye can post ha link to.?
Perhaps the epitome of a Trinidadian is the child in the third row class with a dark skin and crinkly plaits who looks at you out of decidedly Chinese eyes and announces herself as Jacqueline Maharaj.- Merle Hodge