Al "Jazzbo" Collins

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Al "Jazzbo" Collins
Birth nameAlbert Richard Collins
Also known asAl "Jazzbeaux" Collins
Born(1919-01-04)January 4, 1919
Rochester, New York
DiedSeptember 30, 1997(1997-09-30) (aged 78)
Marin County, California
GenresJazz
Occupation(s)Disc jockey, musician
Years active1940s–1990s

Albert Richard "Jazzbo" Collins (January 4, 1919 – September 30, 1997) was an American disc jockey and musician who hosted The Tonight Show in 1957.

Career[edit]

Born in Rochester, New York, in 1919, Collins grew up on Long Island, New York. In 1941, while attending the University of Miami in Florida, he substituted as the announcer for his English teacher's campus radio program and decided he wanted to pursue a career in radio. Collins began his professional career as a disc jockey at a bluegrass music station in Logan, West Virginia; by 1943, he was at WKPA in Pittsburgh, moving in 1945 to WIND in Chicago, and in 1946 to KNAK in Salt Lake City. In 1950 he moved to New York City, where he was hired by WNEW and became one of the "communicators" on Monitor when it began in 1955. He made several appearances on The Tonight Show with Steve Allen in the early 50s. In 1953, Allen recited jazz versions of nursery rhymes such as "Little Red Riding Hood".

In 1957, NBC-TV hired him for five weeks as the host of the Tonight show when it was known as Tonight! America After Dark in the period between hosts Steve Allen and Jack Paar.[1] In 1957 Collins starred in an episode of NBC radio's science fiction radio series X Minus One. By 1959, he was with KSFO in San Francisco. On television he hosted The Al Collins Show, which aired on KGO-TV. The format included appearances by celebrities such as Moe Howard of the Three Stooges. Later in the 1960s, he was the host of Jazz for the Asking (VOA), and he worked with several Los Angeles stations late in the decade: KMET (1966), KFI (1967), and KGBS (1968).

He changed the spelling of his name to "Jazzbeaux" when he went to WTAE in Pittsburgh in 1969. He moved to WIXZ in Pittsburgh (1973) before returning to the West Coast three years later. While in Pittsburgh, he briefly hosted a late night television show titled Jazzbeauxz Rehearsal, an eclectic sampling of anything that caught Collins's interest. In 1976 he returned to San Francisco, working at KMPX, followed by an all-night program at KGO; he began the program with "Blues in Hoss Flat" by Count Basie. He also worked a late shift at KKIS AM in Pittsburg, California, in 1980. After a stint in New York and WNEW (1981), he was back in San Francisco at KSFO (1983) and KFRC (1986). Then he worked at WNEW (1986–90), KAPX (Marin County, California) in 1990, and hosted a weekly jazz show at KCSM (College of San Mateo, California) from 1993 until his death.

Collins was among hundreds of musicians whose material was destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[2]

Discography[edit]

  • Spotlight On Percussion with Kenny Clarke (Vox, 1955)
  • Jazz at the Metropole Cafe (Bethlehem, 1955)
  • East Coast Jazz Scene Vol. 1 (Coral, 1956)
  • Presents Swinging at the Opera (Everest, 1960)
  • A Lovely Bunch of Al Jazzbo Collins and the Bandidos (Impulse!, 1967)
  • Steve Allen's Hip Fables with Slim Gaillard (Doctor Jazz, 1983)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sponsor to Leave Ed Sullivan Show". The New York Times. June 21, 1957. p. 51.
  2. ^ Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2019.

External links[edit]