John Collins (jazz guitarist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
John Collins
Birth nameJohn Elbert Collins
Born(1913-09-20)September 20, 1913
Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.
DiedOctober 4, 2001(2001-10-04) (aged 88)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.

John Elbert Collins (September 20, 1913 – October 4, 2001) was an American jazz guitarist who was a member of the Nat King Cole trio.[1]


A native of Alabama, Collins grew up in Chicago. When he was fourteen, her performed with his mother, Georgia Gorham, who was a jazz pianist. At twenty-one, he played with Art Tatum in the 1930s, followed by Roy Eldridge, Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Fletcher Henderson, and Benny Carter.[1][2] At the end of the 1930s, he started playing electric guitar.[1]

Collins served in the U.S. Army during the 1940s, then returned to his musical career, working with Slam Stewart, Kenny Clarke, Ike Quebec, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Erroll Garner, Billy Taylor, Tadd Dameron, Coleman Hawkins, Artie Shaw, and Vic Dickenson.[2]

Collins replaced Irving Ashby as the guitarist for the Nat King Cole trio. He was a member of the trio until Cole died in 1965.[1][2] Collins then worked with vocalist Patti Page, followed by several years with Bobby Troup. In the early 1970s, he worked with Ray Brown, Carmen McRae, and Snooky Young. Then he spent time teaching in Los Angeles.[2] He appears on the 1983 album Jackson, Johnson, Brown & Company with Milt Jackson on vibes, J. J. Johnson on trombone, Ray Brown on bass, Tom Ranier on piano, and Roy McCurdy on drums.

He recorded The Incredible John Collins, his only album as a leader, with Jimmy Woode and Alvin Queen.[1]

Collins was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1993. He died of cancer on October 4, 2001 at the age of 88.


As leader[edit]

  • The Incredible John Collins (Nilva)

As sideman[edit]

With Nat King Cole

  • The After Midnight Sessions (Capitol)

With Ruth Brown

With Harry Edison

With Illinois Jacquet

With Carmen McRae

With Billy Taylor


  1. ^ a b c d e Yanow, Scott (2013). The Great Jazz Guitarists. San Francisco: Backbeat. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-61713-023-6.
  2. ^ a b c d Ferguson, Jim; Kernfeld, Barry (2002). Kernfeld, Barry (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries. p. 488. ISBN 1-56159-284-6.
  • The Complete Jazz at the Philharmonic on Verve, 1944–49, 10-CD box-set.