Monkey Joe

Monkey Joe

Jesse "Monkey Joe" Coleman was an American blues musician who recorded sporadically from the 1930s into the 1970s.

Jesse Coleman was most likely born in Mississippi, and though the year of birth is not known, he was probably born around 1906. He worked locally in Jackson, Mississippi in juke joints in the 1930s, and recorded with Little Brother Montgomery in 1935 on Bluebird Records. He began using the moniker "Monkey Joe" in that decade. Late in the 1930s he worked as a session musician for Melrose Records, and recorded under his own name with Charlie McCoy, Fred Williams, Big Bill Broonzy, and Buster Bennett as backing musicians. Coleman also appears to have worked under several other names, such as "Jack Newman" at Vocalion Records and "George Jefferson" as an accompanist on recordings for Lulu Scott. Coleman also recorded on Okeh Records for a time.

Little is known of Coleman's whereabouts, aside from recording credits, from before the 1960s. He worked often in Chicago blues clubs in the 1960s, and he became the subject of some interest due to the blues revival in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He worked again with Little Brother Montgomery in the 1970s on an album entitled Crescent City Blues. His date of death is unknown.

Document Records released a two-volume CD set of Monkey Joe's works in 1996.

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