About Deji Coker
Get to know Deji Coker
Ayodeji Coker Jr., or Deji to friends, began his professional career at the age of seventeen as featured saxophonist on a radio commercial for Jenny-O while attending St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.
Recruited by renowned bassist, Reggie Workman, (John Coltrane, etc.) while performing at the national jazz competition sponsored by Downbeat magazine’s Music Fest and placing 1st with The Philistine Jazz Quartet, Deji was awarded a scholarship to attend the prestigious New School for Social Research in New York City. There under the tutelage of the noted saxophonist Greg Osby, Deji solidified his knowledge of jazz theory and improvisation.
Deji settled into the New York City scene. He taught saxophone and woodwinds at The Henry Street Settlement Abron’s Arts Center (New York City) and was later an owner and instructor at The Court Musicians of Brooklyn (Brooklyn, New York). He continued his music career as a performing artist and studio musician locally in the New York City area and around the world.
His teaching credits include teaching at the Gwinnett School of Music (Atlanta, Georgia area) and privately.
As a stage performer he has entertained audiences as a member of the house band at the “world’s most famous jazz club”, The Blue Note iNew York City, Queen Esther Marrow and the Harlem Gospel Singers (European tours), Milo Z (Polygram) and has shared the stage with performers Stevie Wonder, Vusi Mahlasela (renowned South African vocal artist), Amayo’s fu Arkestra (lead singer, Antibalas), Martha Reeves of The Vandellas, Roy Ayers, Mike Gordon (Bassist, Phish), Gloria Gaynor, Bernard Purdie (Guinness Book’s world’s most recorded drummer i.e. Steely Dan, Aretha Franklin, etc.), Grant Green Jr. and many, many others.
His career has afforded him the opportunity to perform in the venues and festivals including: Carnegie Hall (New York City), The Wetlands (New York City), Tramps (New York City), The Bitterend (New York City), Terra Blues (New York City), Smith’s Olde Bar (Atlanta, Georgia), Eddies Attic, (Decatur, Georgia), The Variety Playhouse (Atlanta, Georgia) Nuits D’Afrique Montreal (part of the Montreal World Music Festival), Boo Boo Festival St. Barths, Wednesday Wind at Centennial Olympic Park, (Atlanta Georgia), Battery Park Festival (New York City), various Prospect Park concerts (Brooklyn, New York), Flushing Meadows (Queens, New York), Liberty State Park (New York City) and various venues and theaters internationally (Germany, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Mexico, St. Barts and Japan).
His recording credits include A Closer Look-Babyface, Harlequin-Michael Bardash (record producer, composer of song “The Loud Mouth), Polygon-Michael Bardash (record producer, composer of the song “D's Blues”), Party Time-Freddie Jackson, Club Lonely-Lil Louis and the World, Out On A Rock-Narhed, Heart-Kathy Sledge (Lead singer of vocal group Sisters Sledge), Chic Mystique-Chic, Lover of Life Singer of Songs-The Very Best of Freddie Mercury (Freddie Mercury and Grammy award winning, Platinum producer, Roger Sanchez),
Liquid Paradise-Orchestra Seven, New Day-Rising Lion, The Beat That Shook the World-Veronique, Beauty Is Only Skin Deep-Ivan Bodley, New Urban Jazz.Com-Bob Baldwin.
Deji’s television and film experience includes The Pat Bullard Show, Good Morning Atlanta, the soundtrack for the film “The Deli” with Milo Z, and The Dana Carvey Show on ABC (studio band member) as well as many others.
Relocating to Atlanta, Georgia, Deji has delighted music lovers performing with local greats Donna Hopkins, Charlie Wooton, Ike Stubblefield, Colonel Bruce Hampton, Little Joe, and Mudcat to name a few.