Buddy Collette

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Buddy Collette
Buddy Collette.jpg
Buddy Collette in 1985
Photo: Brian McMillen
Background information
Birth name William Marcel Collette
Born (1921-08-06)August 6, 1921
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died September 19, 2010(2010-09-19) (aged 89)
Los Angeles
Genres Jazz, West Coast jazz, cool jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, educator
Instruments Flute, saxophone, clarinet
Labels Contemporary, Challenge, Mode, EmArcy
Associated acts Chico Hamilton
External video
Oral History, Buddy Collette talks about his work in Los Angeles to promote the joining of the musician's unions who at the time had separate lists for black and white performers. Interview date February 13, 2008, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Oral History Library

William Marcel "Buddy" Collette (August 6, 1921 – September 19, 2010) was an American jazz flautist, saxophonist, and clarinetist. He was a founding member of the Chico Hamilton Quintet.

Music career[edit]

William Marcel Collette was born in Los Angeles and raised in Watts. His father played piano and his mother sang.[1] He took up alto saxophone when he was 12. His first group included Britt Woodman on trombone and Charles Mingus on bass.[2] At 17 he started playing professionally.

After serving as a U.S. Navy band leader, he played with the Stars of Swing (Woodman, Mingus, and Lucky Thompson), Louis Jordan, and Benny Carter.[3]

In 1949, he was the only black member of the band for You Bet Your Life, a TV and radio show hosted by Groucho Marx. In the the 1950s, he worked as a studio musician with Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, and Nelson Riddle. In 1955 he was a founding member of the Chico Hamilton Quintet, playing chamber jazz flute with guitarist Jim Hall, cellist Fred Katz, and bassist Carson Smith.[1][4] He also taught, and his students included Mingus, James Newton, Eric Dolphy, Charles Lloyd, and Frank Morgan. He helped merge an all-black musicians' union with an all-white musicians' union. [1]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Chet Baker

With Louis Bellson

With Red Callender

  • Swingin' Suite (Crown, 1957)

With Brass Fever

With James Brown

With Benny Carter

With June Christy

With Nat King Cole

With Miles Davis and Michel Legrand

  • Dingo (Warner Bros., 1991)

With Sammy Davis, Jr.

With Ella Fitzgerald

With Gil Fuller

With Ted Gärdestad

With Jimmy Giuffre

With Chico Hamilton

With Eddie Harris

With Jon Hendricks

With Freddie Hubbard

With Quincy Jones

With Fred Katz

With Stan Kenton

With Barney Kessel

With Wade Marcus

With Les McCann

With Carmen McRae

With Charles Mingus

With Blue Mitchell

With Lyle Murphy

With Oliver Nelson

With Dory Previn

With Don Ralke

  • Bongo Madness (Crown, 1957)

With Buddy Rich

With Little Richard

With Shorty Rogers

With Pete Rugolo

With Horace Silver

With Frank Sinatra

With Gábor Szabó and Bob Thiele

With The Three Sounds

  • Soul Symphony (Blue Note, 1969)
  • Persistent Percussion (1960, Kent, KST 500)

With Mel Tormé

With Stanley Turrentine

With Gerald Wilson

With Nancy Wilson

With Red Norvo


  1. ^ a b c Heckman, Don (21 September 2010). "Buddy Collette dies at 89; L.A. jazz saxophone player, bandleader". LA Times. Retrieved 7 October 2016. 
  2. ^ Myers, Marc (2010-05-18). "Interview: Buddy Collette". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  3. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Buddy Collette | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 October 2016. 
  4. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Chico Hamilton | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 October 2016. 
  5. ^ "Buddy Collette | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 October 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Jazz Generations: A Life in American Music and Society by Buddy Collette with Steven Iosardi (2000)

External links[edit]