Ernest, a second generation musician, was born in Naples, Italy to Ernest and Rebecca Coleman. His father, Ernest Jr., was a jazz musician who played tenor sax and was also a great arranger and composer.
Ernest studied at the Naval Conservatory of Music in Norfolk, Virginia and was awarded a special honor for being the youngest student to graduate from this conservatory. After his tour with the Navy Band, Ernest moved to Los Angeles, California and began his true musical quest. He performed for Guys & Dolls, Ain’t Misbehavin, Bourbon Street Review, and A Chorus Line.
Ernest got the call to work with Loretta Holloway in Las Vegas opening for Jay Leno, Bill Cosby, David Brenner, Yakov Smirnoff, Whoopi Goldberg, Don Rickles and many many more. Ernest soon took over as Loretta’s musical director and continued on to travel to places like Russia, Bermuda, Japan, Canada, Virgin Islands, and Brazil, among many places around the world. Ernest worked with Loretta for over twelve years, playing with major symphonies and was responsible for conducting from behind the drums.
Then Ernest received the call of a lifetime! He was offered an opportunity to play with the great jazz legend-the one and only jazz bassist, "Al McKibbon". Mr. "McKibbon" was the bassist for a Broadway show out of New Orleans, entitled "The Bourbon Street Review". Ernest was very excited to get this call and realized he had to pass an audition to get booked for the show. Ernest was very familiar with "Al McKibbon", because Al was the noted bass player for the "Giants of Jazz" Tour, with "Thelonious Monk" and ‘Dizzy Gillespie’. At the conclusion of the audition, Ernest was offered the job and would go on to play three shows a night, six nights a week for the next three years. Do the math-that’s eighteen shows a week! This was one of the best learning experiences in Ernest’s life!
"Al McKibbon" and Ernest grew very close-he was like a second father to Ernest. They lived together for many years and this was where Ernest attained most of his great knowledge of music. After the close of this show, Ernest received the call from jazz drummer, Mr. "Billy Higgins", whom Ernest met in Los Angeles several years prior.
Mr. Higgins offered Ernest a job with jazz saxophonist, "Azar Lawrence". Ernest accepted and went on the road with "Azar Lawrence" for the next year and a half. This was another great experience for Ernest.
Ernest moved on to Las Vegas and started working with Frank Sinatra’s pianist and conductor, Mr. "Vincent Falcone". He then became a part of the Vincent Falcone trio featuring "Joe Lano". After this accomplishment, Ernest met up with jazz pianist, "Kevin Toney", and began playing with Kevin and jazz bassist, "Brad Bobo". Ernest would go on to work with such greats as "Kenny Burrell", "Russell Malone", "Lorendo Alameida", "Lorez Alexandria", "John Clayton", "George Cables", "Herman Riley", "Charlie Owens", "Frank Sinatra", "Vic Damone", "Diahann Carroll", "Pudgy", The Caesar Palace Orchestra, The Harrah’s Tahoe Orchestra, The Harrah’s Reno Orchestra and The Las Vegas Symphony.
Ernest has recently recorded his debut CD as a front man entitled, "My Romance with Rhythms", and begins his tour June 20, 2009, in Atlanta, Georgia.