Born in Gainesville, Alabama, United States, the son of sharecroppers and one of four children. He was born, raised and worked on a farm, and picked up and learned the harmonica at 12 years of age.
Coleman began performing the blues as an entertainer for American soldiers while serving in the United States Army. It was during this period that he was given the nickname "Jaybird" due to his independent manner. In the early 1920's, he teamed with fellow bluesman Big Joe Williams as a performer in the Birmingham Jug Band which toured through the American South.
Coleman made his first recordings as a solo artist in 1927. His career as a recording artist lasted only until 1930, after which he performed mostly on street corners throughout Alabama.
He died of cancer at the age of 53 in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1950.
- Biography on Alabama Music Hall of Fame site
- Profile on Answers.com
- Illustrated Jaybird Coleman discography