Jazz Guitarist Coleman Mellet Dies in Plane Crash

East Brunswick resident, solo artist and lead guitarist for Chuck Mangione, Coleman Mellett, husband of jazz singer Jeanie Bryson was a passenger on Continental Flight # 3407 which went down in Buffalo, New York on Thursday, February 12, 2009.

In 2007, Mellett released his first CD titled "Natural High." In 2008, Coleman auditioned for the 2008 Radio City Christmas Spectacular and was selected to be first chair on strings.

Guitarist Coleman Mellett grew up in the Washington D.C. area and was first exposed to Jazz while studying with Maryland guitar guru, Paul Wingo. Under Wingo's legendary tutelage, Mellett began listening to the great Jazz guitarists and was active in Blues Alley Youth Orchestra. Upon receiving the "Emily Remler" Jazz guitar scholarship to Duquesne University, Mellett headed to Pittsburgh where he spent a year learning from the great guitarist Joe Negri. To be closer to the New York Jazz scene, Mellett transferred to the jazz program at William Paterson University where he had the privilege to study with Jazz greats like Rufus Reid, Kenny Burrell, Norman Simmons, Steve Turre, and Harold Mabern. After graduating from William Paterson, Mellett headed to Manhattan School of Music to pursue a Master's degree in Jazz Performance, which he received in 1998. While living in New York, Mellett had the good fortune of working with musicians like Joe Williams, James Spaulding, Frank Wess, Doug Lawrence, Etta Jones, Christian McBride, and others. At this time, Mellett became a touring member of the quartet backing up the wonderful vocalist Jeanie Bryson. Mellett was also part of a trio with organist Adam Scone and drum legend Ben Dixon, who is known internationally for the Blue Note recordings he made with "Big" John Patton and Grant Green. While performing with this trio in 1999 on a Manhattan Cable T.V. program, Mellett caught the eye of Chuck Mangione who was looking for a guitar player at the time. Mellett was invited to audition for Mangione, and was hired on the spot to be the substitute for Grant Giessman, who had been playing with Chuck since the mid 1970's. After two years of "subbing" for Giessman, Chuck invited Mellett to be a permanent member of the group, and since then Coleman has been touring the world with the Chuck Mangione Band.

www.myspace.com/colemanmellett

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