Born Lester Rallingston Collins, this trumpeter had already settled on the more casual stage name of Shad Collins when in his late teens he joined the band of Charlie Dixon, at that time featuring the remarkable vocalist Cora La Redd. From here he moved to a combo led by pianist Eddie White, staying with him for several years until hired by drummer Chick Webb's outfit in 1931. Throughout the '30s, the trumpeter worked with top-notch leaders, among them the superb arranger and reed player Benny Carter and the big bands of Don Redman and Count Basie. In 1940, he returned to the Carter camp, and was then associated with Freddie Moore and an excellent sextet led by tenor saxophonist Lester Young the following year.

When Cab Calloway threw Dizzy Gillespie out of his band for supposedly playing "Chinese music" during his solos, Collins was the subsequent replacement. The bebop quotient must have been more satisfying to the leader, as the trumpeter kept this job until 1943, then rejoined the Calloway show from 1944 through 1946. In the late '40s and early '50s, Collins performed with Buster Harding, Al Sears, and Jimmy Rushing, the latter leader helping to bring more of a rhythm & blues feeling to Collins' riffing. With many big bands folding, this turned out to be a good development in terms of employment. The funky tenor saxophonist Sam The Man Taylor was Collins' main employer throughout the '50s and even into the '60s, when the trumpeter began gigging on more of a part-time basis. Collins was an active composer and arranger whose creations include the frequently recorded Rock-a-Bye Basie. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi

Love Jumped Out
Shad Collins - Final Attire
Lester Young + Shad Collins + J.C.Higginbotham Dec.1940 Variations on I Got Rhythm
Paul Quinichette Buck Clayton Shad Collins Jack Washington Freddie Green Nat Pierce Eddi
Love Me or Leave Me
The Blues I Like to Hear
Baby, Don't Tell on Me
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