Coleridge Goode

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Coleridge Goode
File:Cooleridge Goode.jpg
Background information
Birth name Coleridge George Emerson Goode
Born (1914-11-29)29 November 1914
Kingston, Jamaica
Died 2 October 2015(2015-10-02) (aged 100)
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Double bassist
Instruments Double bass
Associated acts Joe Harriott,
Michael Garrick

George Coleridge Emerson Goode (29 November 1914 – 2 October 2015)[1] was a British Jamaican-born jazz bassist best known for his long collaboration with alto saxophonist Joe Harriott. Goode was a member of Harriott's innovatory jazz quintet throughout its eight-year existence as a regular unit (1958–65). Goode was also involved with the saxophonist's later pioneering blend of jazz and Indian music in Indo-Jazz Fusions, the group Harriott co-led with composer/violinist John Mayer.


Goode was born in Kingston, Jamaica. His father was a choirmaster and organist who promoted classical choral music in Jamaica and his mother sang in the choir. As Goode recalled: "My name comes from my father putting on a performance of Samuel Coleridge Taylor’s Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast as a tribute to him.... I was born a year after."[2][3] Goode came to Britain in 1934 as a 19-year-old student at the Royal Technical College in Glasgow (later the University of Strathclyde), and then went on to read for a degree in engineering at Glasgow University. He was already proficient as an amateur classical violinist but turned to jazz and took up the bass after hearing the music of such stars as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Louis Jordan. Abandoning his plans to return to Jamaica to work as an engineer, Goode decided to embark upon a musical career.

His primary early influences as a bassist were Walter Page, Slam Stewart and Jimmy Blanton. Moving to London in 1942, Goode subsequently worked with Johnny Claes, Eric Winstone, Lauderic Caton and Dick Katz, became a founder member of the Ray Ellington Quartet and recorded with Django Reinhardt in 1946, alongside Stephane Grappelli.[4] Later Goode played in Tito Burns' sextet and led his own group, before being invited to join Harriott's new band in 1958. During the 1960s and 1970s Goode worked extensively with pianist/composer Michael Garrick. Goode was still performing in the house band at Laurie Morgan's Sunday jam sessions at the King's Head in Crouch End into his nineties.[5]

One of the finest jazz bassists who has worked in Europe, Goode is an important link to a proud heritage of Caribbean contributions to the music. His achievements through a long career have been an important inspiration for some leading contemporary black British jazz musicians. In 2002, his autobiography Bass Lines: A Life in Jazz, co-authored with his friend, the academic and jazz writer Roger Cotterrell, not only told his own story but provided poignant and vivid memories of the brilliant and tragic Harriott and of the birth of free form jazz in Britain.[6]


On 18 May 2011 Goode was honoured with the Services to Jazz Award at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards, held at the House of Commons.[7] He died on 2 October 2015,[8] the year after he celebrated turning 100, when a special performance was organised for him at the London Jazz Festival.[9][10][11][4]

Personal life

In 1944, Goode married Gertrude Selmeczi, a Jewish refugee from Vienna, Austria, of Hungarian origin; the marriage, lasting 70 years until her death aged 96 in June 2015,[3] produced a daughter Sandy and son James.[4][6]


With Ray Ellington

With Joe Harriott

With Michael Garrick

Further reading

  • Goode, Coleridge, and Roger Cotterrell (2002). Bass Lines: A Life in Jazz. London: Northway Publications. ISBN 978-0-9928222-3-1. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Kociejowski, Marius (2014). "The Happiest of All Stories - Coleridge Goode, Jazz Bassist". God's Zoo: Artists, Exiles, Londoners. Carcanet.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  1. "RIP Coleridge Goode 1914-2015", Gary Crosby website, 4 October 2015.
  2. "Coleridge Goode - Double Bass", Jazzwise Magazine, 4 October 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Coleridge Goode, double-bass player - obituary", The Telegraph, 15 October 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 John Stevenson, "Coleridge Goode obituary", The Guardian, 11 October 2015.
  5. "Coleridge Goode", The Jazz Site.
  6. 6.0 6.1 John Stevenson, "Coleridge Goode: Bassist and singer who played with Grappelli and Reinhardt", The Independent, 23 October 2015.
  7. "Coleridge Goode wins Services to Jazz Award", Dune, 26 May 2011.
  8. "RIP Coleridge Goode", Marlbank, 5 October 2015.
  9. "Celebrating 100 Goode Years: Happy Birthday Coleridge". Tomorrow's Warriors. 29 November 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Great Brit Jazz bassist Coleridge Goode dies aged 100", Jazzwise Magazine, 5 October 2015.
  11. Mike Hobart, "Special celebrations at the London Jazz Festival", The Financial Times, 7 November 2014.