Meet Richard Collins: Richard Collins is a totally unknown street performer who began his career in New Orleans in the mid-1960s and is still performing everyday in Portland, Oregon. He celebrates 50 years of guitar this year, 2009. Recently, he has released 21 albums on Redeye Records.
Teachers and/or influences?
I knew I wanted to be a musician when... When I first saw how the women looked at the good guitar players...
Your sound and approach to music: My sound is based on Merle Travis/Chet Atkins style with a lot more feeling on the hard picked notes...
Your teaching approach: Like Herb Ellis said, students should sing or hum the song to themselves while they play it.
Your dream band:
Band members really have to know each other's limitations...would like to work with Woody Allen and Marcus Roberts.
Road story: Your best or worst experience: Showed up for a gig but the place had burned down the night before I was to play...
I have had many fine gigs all over the world.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why? I like doing Buddy Bolden's "Spider"it has an appeal somewhere between ragtime, swing, trad jazz and country...hard to find a song that fits in there like that one does...
The first Jazz album I bought was: Bill Black's Combo.
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? I am in the midst of the people and I want 'em to feel as good as I do when I am right on...
Did you know...
I play violin as well as trumpet and guitar.
CDs you are listening to now: I like Wynton Marsalis' takes on Louis Armstrong.
Desert Island picks:
Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan;
Louis Armstrong's Greatest Hits;
Dave van Ronk Sings the Blues;
Rolf Cahn and Eric von Schmidt, Rolf Cahn and Eric von Schmidt;
Jelly Roll Morton, Library of Congress Recordings 1938.
How would you describe the state of jazz today? Overcrowded with mediocre talent; not enough musicians' money in jazz performances.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Art in public places; CETA grants.
What is in the near future? Personally, I want to play a festivalbut I want to be invited.
Street musician at Kornblatt's NY Deli.
If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: A very successful nobody.