Pianist John Coates, Jr. has died at 79

Johnny Coates
Johnny Coates

JOHN COATES, Jr., 79, died on Nov. 22 in Scranton, PA. Phil Woods said “People don’t know how good a pianist John Coates is.” Coates attended the Mannes College of Music in New York City, toured with Charlie Ventura, performed on the Steve Allen TV Show, and recorded for Savoy Records.

In the 1960s and 70s, he was an arranger and composer for Fred Waring who had settled in the Poconos where he set up a music publishing company. Coates also played regularly at the Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap from the 1960s to 2010.

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Lew Shaw started writing about music as the publicist for the famous Berkshire Music Barn in the 1960s. He joined the West Coast Rag almost thirty years ago and has been a guiding light to this paper through the two name changes since then as we became The Syncopated Times.  47 of his profiles are collected in Jazz Beat: Notes on Classic Jazz. Volume two, containing profiles from 2013-2016 will be available on Amazon soon. He taps his extensive network of connections and friends throughout the traditional jazz world to bring us his Jazz Jottings column every month.

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