Other Artists Dennis Coffey Has Worked With


November 26th, 2014

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I got a call one day to play a live concert with Barbra Streisand. I knew she was a great artist but didn’t know what to expect. The rehearsal was going to be at Columbia Studios in Hollywood. Once I parked my car, I went into the studio. There is a company in LA called Studio Instrument Rental. They provide each rhythm section musician with a large trunk on rollers. We stored our amps, extra guitars, and effects in that trunk. Studio Instrument Rental would deliver these trunks to each session and then pick them up and store them in a warehouse until the next session. The record companies in LA paid for this on the union contract under Cartage.

Super Star Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand










Once I got into the studio, I located my trunk. Then I looked up and saw a large serving line loaded with food. At the head of the serving line was Barbra Streisand. She introduced herself to each one of us and told us to sit down and eat. There were about 60 of us so this was a big deal. There was a rhythm section, a horn section, and a string section. Whatever negative stories I had heard about Barbra vanished that day. She could do no wrong.

That night we played for her in the concert. Barbara was in total control of the audience and memorizing in her delivery. She is a true super star artist in every sense of the word. I did break a string on my acoustic guitar in the middle of “The Way We Were” but I played on the other five strings and no one was the wiser.


Quincy Jones is one of the most talented people I have ever worked with. He is a great jazz arranger and R&B producer. The “Thriller” album he produced on Michael Jackson sold over 50 million copies worldwide. That’s like having 50 gold singles with one record. Quincy could arrange and produce jazz and R&B and was great at both not to mention movie scores and TV Show themes. I remember when Clarence Avant played my record “Scorpio” for Quincy Jones before it was released. Quincy was the only one who picked that record out and told Clarence it would be a hit. It took the radio stations over a year to figure that out but Quincy nailed it right away. When I played on the “Body Heat” album for Quincy he reminded me of that.

Quincy was very good at selecting guest artists for his albums which resulted in great music. The “Body Heat” album was one of those albums! The last time I spoke to Quincy was at the “Heroes and Legends Award” banquet at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills. He was sitting with Clarence Avant who used to own Sussex Records. Clarence and I both received awards. I also played “Scorpio” with some of my LA session buddies. Quincy told me I sounded great that night. That meant a lot to me coming from him. Quincy also changed a lot of opinions that jazz artists cannot play or arrange R&B and vice versa. They can because music is still music. I used to study with the great jazz guitarist Joe Pass (Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald) when I lived in LA. I also got to know Wes Montgomery when he played at the Drome Lounge in Detroit. I never missed a show. I learned a lot about jazz from those two guitar legends. Does anyone have any comments about encounters with Motown acts or other famous artists they would like to share?

Here is “Killer Joe” arranged by Quincy. I really like his arrangement of this song and the deep groove.

Quincy Jones and his awards back in the day

Quincy Jones

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Dennis Coffey