brandon guitar 300LEXINGTON, Ky (10/4/13)—When most people think of Eastern Kentucky music, they think of bluegrass. But for one rural musician, his passion led him to beat to a different drum. Rather than Bluegrass, Brandon Coleman focuses his efforts on jazz music. His love of music started at age 12 when he got his first guitar.

“There is a long history of musicians in my family, but my grandfather and his music is what inspired me most,” said Coleman. “I found out not too long after that I had a natural skill, and for the past 14 years I have been working everyday to get better.”

As a professional musician and composer, Coleman devotes most of his time to jazz music.

“The minute I started playing guitar I was obsessed with it,” said Coleman, “obsessed so much that it took the upmost importance in my life… which is kind of cool.”

When it was time for him to decide on his secondary education, Coleman received a scholarship to go to Transylvania University to study Law. But at the last minute he discovered he could get a degree in Jazz.

“I knew becoming a lawyer would be a profession that was worthwhile,” said Coleman. “But my heart was telling me something different. I went to Morehead State University and got my Bachelors degree in Jazz and then went on to get my Masters at University of Louisville in Jazz.”

There is a history of jazz musicians in Kentucky, so for Coleman this wasn’t a hard choice to make. After moving to Louisville he found multiple musicians that he started playing with.

“I have inspired myself as the years go on because I have become known and have had the opportunity to spread my own original music and the type of music that I love,” Coleman said. “It keeps me going.”

In the past 6 years Coleman has been part of several bands in which he has played both jazz and rock. Just recently he released his first album with a group of musicians from Brazil and Australia. Chemistry is important when musicians play with each other. For this certain group of guys, the chemistry was perfect.

“When you play music with someone it either works or it doesn’t,” Coleman said. “Certain musicians have a certain chemistry together, and since jazz music is mostly improvised, having that chemistry is important.”

Since he has played with a variety of musicians before, Coleman knew that this group of guys was the group he wanted to make his first album with. After having fundraising concerts and raising money, they finally reached their musical goal.

“I’m really proud of this recording because it is all of our own music,” Coleman said. “I really wanted to capture the chemistry and the way that our music all fell into place together, and that’s what we did.”

It was a bittersweet moment for the group, because shortly after the album was recorded two of the guys had to go back to their home countries. Since this was a great accomplishment and stepping stone for the whole group, they have made plans to tour in Brazil in the upcoming months.

“This is the first thing that I’ve put out for the public to make a professional statement,” Coleman said. “I was extremely happy with the outcome of it. I just hated to see the guys leave.”

Coleman said that the most fascinating thing he has witnessed is the use of music in communication. Since he has met so many people from different cultures, there isn’t always a translator. With music, he has been able to communicate with people, because it is one thing that everyone understands.

“Music is a language in itself. I would play something and everyone knew what I was talking about,” Coleman said. “We didn’t need verbal communication.”

Being a musician has opened Coleman’s eyes to not only the amazing, intelligent and inspiring people in the music scene, but he has had the ability to travel and see a whole new world that he never thought he would be able to see.

Check out the Brandon Coleman Quartet in his album, Decisions.

Bonnie Dailey
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