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Published: 2009/02/13

Guitarist Coleman Mellett Killed In Plane Crash

Earlier this morning Flight 3407 crashed while en route from Newark, NJ to
Buffalo, NY. Sugarman 3 guitarist Coleman Mellett was among the passengers
killed in the traffic incident. Mellett grew up outside Washington D.C. and studied guitar at both
Duquesne University and William Paterson University in the 1990s. He also
earned a masters degree at the Manhattan School of Music and cut his teeth
on the jazz circuit by playing with the likes of Joe Williams, James
Spaulding, Frank Wess, Doug Lawrence, Etta Jones and Christian McBride,
all of whom to worked with over the past decade. Mellett joined Neal
Sugarman’s Sugarman 3 in time to record the group’s 1998 Desco label
debut, Sugar’s Boogaloo. The album was engineered by Desco founder
Gabriel Roth, the man responsible for both starting Daptone records and
co-founding The Dap-Kings. Mellett’s association with Sugarman 3 placed
him on the New York jam and funk circuit, where he shared the stage with
a then emerging Robert Randolph.
In the jazz realm, Mellett was also part of a trio with organist Adam
Scone and drum legend Ben Dixon and has spent the past few years playing
with Chuck Mangione. At the time of the crash, Mellett was traveling to
Buffalo for a performance with Mangione and the Buffalo Philharmonic at
the Kleinhans Music Hall. Another member of Mangione’s band, Gerry
Niewood, was also killed in the crash.
‘I’m in shock over the horrible, heartbreaking tragedy of the crash of
Flight 3407, which took the lives of my dear friends and band members,’
Mangione said in a statement today. ‘I am grieving and praying with their
families and friends.’

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