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Ira Coleman was born on April 29th, 1956 in Stockholm, Sweden. Raised in Southern France until 1968, Ira thereafter lived in Germany for fourteen years. While in Germany Ira Coleman studied double bass at Colognes Hochschule für Musik from 1980 to 1982. Subsequently came a move to the US to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston. Ira Coleman currently resides in Rhinebeck, New York.
I have very strong ties to Europe, says Ira who is fluent in French and German. My mother was Swedish and a famous silversmith and designer, and my father was a painter and graphic artist from Baltimore. The place to go was Paris. My parents met many expatriate artists, writers and musicians. Among visitors to Iras childhood home were Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Charlie Mingus and Chester Himes. Ira got his inspiration at an early age, though he didnt actually pick up a bass until he was 19 years old.
The bass fits my character, says Ira, who graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1985. In most musical genres the bass is the pivotal center piece, the instrument which provides a discrete and clear foundation, and I enjoy the many challenges its function poses.
Iras resumé tells the story. Over the years, Ira has worked with such well-known figures as Cab Calloway, Freddie Hubbard, Betty Carter, Branford Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Jessye Norman and Sting. He was musical director for vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater and toured with her internationally from 2002 until 2009. One night he's on the stage at Carnegie Hall playing in a tribute to African-American culture. The next morning he is on a plane to Europe to collaborate on a recording or heading to Japan for a jazz festival. As comfortable playing Jamaican rhythms as he is accompanying a gospel choir or performing in a Jazz trio, this professional bass player has built an international reputation for versatility. Iras recording credits include: Kathleen Battle, Barabara Hendricks, Jessye Norman, Sting, Philip Baley, Angélique Kidjo, Oumou Sangare, Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis, Billy Cobham, Tony Williams, Betty Carter, Toumani Diabaté, Ernest Ranglin, Baaba Maal. Ira Coleman appears on more than 100 recordings. Production for Ernest Ranglin In Search of the Lost Rhythm and Kaouding Cissoko Kora Revolution (Palm Pictures), Production Assisstance for Herbie Hancock Gershwins World (Polygram),Angélique Kidjo Black Ivory Soul (SONY).
Ira appears on Grammy receiving recordings: Gershwins World (Herbie Hancock), Look What I got (Betty Carter).