Funky Michael Coleman
From his early days on the road with Muddy Waters, a decade of touring the planet and band arranger for Mr. Superharp James Cotton, to the forming of his own band "The Backbreakers" in 1992, Michael was always busy being a diplomat of the Blues.
His signature style and sound of energy driven Blues funk, with mind blowing guitar riffs was all his own. Michael was a guitar guru, arranger extraordinaire, accomplished bass player and drummer. He recorded 8 solo albums and appeared on dozens of other artist's works. In the 1980's, Guitar Player Magazine ranked him as one of the top 50 Blues guitarists, along side Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robert Cray, and Buddy Guy.
Michael had endured a superhuman, six-year battle of grueling dialysis sessions 4-5 times a week for 5 hours per session. He worked hard to modify his lifestyle losing 155 pounds over a three-year period. As a result of his condition he also endured no less than 27 surgeries, including quadruple bypass from a widow maker heart attack he survived while also undergoing dialysis. Despite all of this, Michael and band played over 400 gigs in this time frame with a mere 2 that had to be rescheduled, and both honored due to his health. It was not unusual for Michael to get discharged from a hospital just to play a gig or to leave after a performance and have to be admitted.
Most attending his shows, many of which were 3 hours in duration, total high energy throw-downs, had no idea that Michael was in critical health. He played every gig like it was going to be his last and he gave all he had. His legacy here lives on through the music and skills he taught countless others in the art of the Blues.
"I started playing bass guitar for James Cotton way back when... Played with my brothers before that in a little Chicago street band. Ya, it's been quite a ride since then. Now I got no workin' kidneys and I gotta play the funky blues or I die y'all."
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After office hours, Michael would jam with local artists on the Mosquitoe Gallery stage. The Mosquitoe team enjoyed the jam sessions so much they decided to record them. The term "after 5 jam" was coined and the series became a monthly release starting in October 2014. Michael unfortunately passed a month later, followed by a member of the Mosquitoe Team at the end of 2014. Mosquitoe Music continues the series to further support local artists and in remembrance of these two.
Check out more of the "after 5 jam" series below:
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