A fixture at the Deer Head Inn in Pennsylvania's Delaware Water Gap for over 25 years, John Coates, Jr. (an early inspiration for Keith Jarrett) has been creating worthy music (a bit in the Bill Evans vein) for several decades in general obscurity. He started playing piano quite young, studied at Mannes College of Music and the Dalcroze School of Music, and thought seriously of becoming a concert pianist. But after he discovered jazz, he changed his direction. In 1955, at the age of 17, Coates recorded a set for Savoy (Portrait), and toured with Charlie Ventura from 1956 to 1958. After graduating from Rutgers in 1962, he worked for a music publisher in Delaware Water Gap as a composer/arranger and started performing regularly at the Deer Head Inn. John Coates recorded a set for Omnisound in 1974 and made quite a few records for the tiny label from 1977 to 1980 before going back to his low profile. After a bout with bad health, he recorded a couple of CDs for Pacific St. in 1996-1997.
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