A highly respected instructor, theorist, and author. Born in South Bend, Indiana (November 28, 1932), Jerry Coker's early career was spent playing in such big bands as Woody Herman's. He interrupted his studies at Indiana University to join Herman in late 1953, then toured with him until the summer of 1954. He made some recordings in Paris and San Francisco as a leader, and as a sideman with Mel Lewis in the late '50s; he then became a freelance player on the West Coast. Coker had a short stint with Stan Kenton, then began an involvement with college bands in the '60s which led to him holding various teaching posts. He's written several jazz books, and at one point in the '80s, was a professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Ron Wynn -All Music Guide