Steve Coleman, the famed jazz saxophonist and composer is being accused of sexual misconduct.
The 62-year-old Chicago native, is said to have engaged in a five-year relationship with a then teen protégé. The alleged relationship began in May of 2009 after they met at the Jazz Gallery in Manhattan.
At the time, the accuser was 17 and she says she was a ‘fan who was “eager” to meet Coleman and learn more about his renowned improvisational style.” She was in shock when during their second lesson, Coleman allegedly expressed to her his desires.
The accuser now 26, says she rebuffed Coleman at first but was later persuaded to engage in a sexual relationship that lasted five years. The accuser who has yet to be identified, wrote a lengthy letter about his experience with him and sent it to many of their colleagues, causing some fellow musicians to turn their backs on him.
Now Coleman has files a defamation lawsuit, vehemently denying her accusations and seeking at least $1 million in damages.
He describes the prior relationship as “mutually consensual” and suggests the woman was upset that he did not leave his wife for her. He further said it was her who initiated their relationship.
The woman said she eventually became suicidal and decided to quit working with Coleman after a tour in late 2016.
According to the NY Daily News, the woman is a working musician in New York who has received glowing reviews on her solo projects over the last two years.
She said Coleman would hire her for gigs, tours and jobs and then suggest she was obligated to sleep with him.
“On tour I would have to sleep with him at the end of the day lest (he) be absolutely angry and sometimes refuse to rehearse the band the next day,” she wrote. “He would relentlessly ask me to have *** with him and told me that was the reason I was there, even though I had been hired like everyone else.”
Coleman won one of America’s most prestigious and lucrative arts awards — a MacArthur Fellowship, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Doris Duke Impact Award.
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