" When I was 15, I was a break dancer, performing in a group of kids from different neighbourhoods", says Jay Collin's, "but it was my stepfather who introduced me to jazz. I heard Miles Davis (Kind of Blue), Charles Mingus' (Blues and Roots) and a couple of things from Jazz at the Philharmonic, with Charlie Parker and Lester Young, and a couple of things by John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. He gave me those and I started to pay serious attention to them by the time I was 16".
Born in Portland, Oregon in 1968, Collins initially played in a racially mixed city-wide big band called Youth Sound, sponsored by the City of Portland, It was under the direction of Greg McKelvey, director of the band at Wilson High School. Because of his inability to read he almost gave up playing altogether, but with the encouragement of Greg and Jay's parents he began to sit in at jam sessions in Portland and study to read.
In 1989 he spent a month at the Banff Centre for the Arts (the Canadian connection) where he studied with Dave Holland and Steve Coleman.
He made his way to the New York scene in 1990 for more studies at the suggestion of pianist Andrew Hill, and did short stints with Joe Beck, Randy Brecker and Lonnie Smith. He is inspired by the works of Frank Lacy, Dewey Redman and Don Cherry, and has delved into the music of Africa, Cuba, Ireland and Japan.
|Recommended recordings:||"Let's Cool One" with Dick Berk||Reservoir RSR CD 122|
|"East Coast Stroll" with Dick Berk||Reservoir RSR CD 128|
|"Uncommon Threads"||Reservoir RSR CD 135|
|"Reality Tonic"||Reservoir RSR CD 142|