Christopher Coles

Christopher Coles's Biography

Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, saxophonist Christopher J. Coles is based in the Greater Akron area. He serves on the faculty of Kent State University, Aurora School of Music and Tri-C Creative Arts Academy. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in performance from Youngstown State University, where he studied extensively with James Umble, Kent Englehardt and David Morgan and a master’s degree in performance from the University of Akron. At the 2015 Banff Workshop for Jazz and Creative Music, Chris had the distinct honor of studying with many influential jazz pioneers, including Vijay Iyer, Mark Turner, Imani Izuri, Tia Fuller, Billy Hart, Ingrid Jensen, Zakir Hussain, Somi, Vosany Terry and Miles Okazaki, among others. Chris was a winner of the 2017 Knight Foundation Arts Challenge in Akron, Ohio for his composition “Nine Lives.” “Nine Lives” was written in 2015 in memory of the nine lives lost at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. This work is about 40 minutes and features other art forms such as dance, animation and spoken word.

Chris regularly appears with many local ensembles, including Black Dog Octet, Red Rhinoceros Revival Octet, Bluelight, The Admirables, Sam Blakeslee Large Group and The Stokes Legacy Jazz Orchestra. His own jazz quartet, Gleam, released its debut album in summer 2018. Chris has performed with many notable local and international jazz musicians such as Eddie Baccus Sr., Melvin Burks, Kenny Davis, Glenn Holmes, Bill Ransom, Cecil Rucker, Grammy Award winner Slide Hampton, Ralph Lalama and Allen Vizzutti.

In 2010, Chris was selected to perform with the Ohio Youth Jazz Orchestra in Italy, where he shared the stage with Wessell Anderson, lead alto saxophonist for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Chris has also performed at the Tri-C Jazz Fest, Rubber City Jazz Fest, North American Saxophone Alliance Conference and Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium. After premiering a commissioned work by John Hollenbeck at the Whitney Art Museum Composers Workshop, Chris recorded the piece for John Hollenbeck’s album, Rainbow Jimmies, released in 2009.

Christopher Coles's Gear
Christopher Coles

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