From the Trentonian obituary:
TRENTON – Local jazz great, Johnnie Coles, 89, departed this life to be with the Lord on Thursday, Mar. 24, 2011, at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton.
Johnnie was a native Trentonian born to the late John W. Sr. and Virginia Lacy Coles. He was also preceded in death by his sister, Ruth Coles Hayes.
Johnnie attended Trenton public schools and graduated from Trenton High School. He also attended New York Conservatory where he studied theory, counterpoint and harmony, and orchestral arranging.
Prior to his induction into the service he had one of the highlights of his life when he auditioned to play alto sax with Jimmy Lunceford’s orchestra at Laurel Gardens in Newark, and the Apollo Theater in New York, N.Y.
Johnnie served three years in the United States Air Force. During his time in the Air Force he played sax, clarinet and piano with the military bands. He also did some arranging and orchestration.
He began playing with his father’s (John Sr.) band at the age of 17. Later Johnnie formed other orchestras and bands. His father played trombone with him. Johnnie played piano with his jazz trio for many years in New Hope, Pa. His son, John III, was the drummer.
He had a membership with Local No. 62 American Federation of Musicians.