Jesse Collins is a saxophonist whose music is rooted in the traditions of Charlie Parker, John ColtranE, Sonny Rollins and Sam Rivers.
Jesse Collins was born in Dover, NH, and spent his first five years living on Rock Rimmon Mountain . His first word was “record.”
After moving to New York state, Jesse took up drums, piano, and later the saxophone. He studied with Tom Sococio, who gave his students Charlie Parker solos to use as practice etudes.
When Jesse was 14 years old he made his first professional gigs in the Upstate area, and then later that year, he received an "Outstanding Soloist" Award at a Syracuse High School Jazz Band Competition. His Award included a scholarship to attend the Eastern US Music Camp. This six week conservatory-style music camp was a 9 am-to-9 pm intensive music study where Jesse learned both classical and jazz theory as well as writing and arranging for orchestras and big bands.
In 1987 Jesse attended Ithaca College. There he studied classical saxophone with Steven Mauk.
In 1990, Jesse had the opportunity to attend the New School for Social Research's new Jazz Studies Program. This was a great opportunity for Jesse, because his classmates were musicians like Brad Mehldau, Peter Bernstein, Roy Hargrove, Larry Goldings, Chris Potter, Johannes Wiedenmuller, Jesse Davis, Mike Wilner, Omer Avital and Avishai Cohen, from whom Jesse learned a great amount. In addition, the New School had a faculty that included Jaki Bayard, Reggie Workman, Jimmy Cobb, and Chico Hamilton, as well as many more of the great musicians of the history of jazz.
Jesse studied privately with Sam Rivers, Jaki Bayard, Lee Konitz and Arnie Lawrence.
From 1990 to 1998 and 2000 to 2005, Jesse lived in NYC where he led his own groups and worked as a sideman in many prominent New York City groups. He worked with such jazz luminaries as Jimmy Cobb, Sacha Perry, Omer Avital, Denis Charles, Carlos McKinney, Avishai Cohen, Boris Kozlow, and Johnny Ellis among many other great musicians.
Jesse frequently attended jam sessions at the ST Bar and was a regular in the emerging scene at the jazz club Smalls.
In 2003, with the help of entrepreneur David Latimer, Jesse’s first record "Introducing Jesse Collins" – which was a compilation of live material from 1996 to 2002 recorded in the New York City clubs, including Smalls and Fat Cat, was released and was named a Jazz Times magazine Critics Pick Top 10 pick for 2003.
In 2005 Jesse moved to Syracuse, NY, to produce a new Jesse Collins Quartet sound and to work at Al's Wine and Whiskey Lounge and the Sterling Stage Festivals, where he could have a musical home to develop a new sound.
From 2005 to 2010 he performed with the Interstellar Funkateers, a modern progressive Jazz Funk Quintet, as well as with many great local Syracuse groups including the Syracuse Symphony, the Central NY Jazz Orchestra, the Stan Colella Orchestra, and the DeSantis Orchestra.
In 2010 and 2011 Jesse formed the Jesse Collins Trio and performed through out Upstate NY , including at the Monthly Concert Series at Rainbow Shores Hotel as well as at clubs and festivals in New York State.
In 2012 Jesse formed Real Bean Records with the also newly created Rock Rimmon Productions. Many sessions were held and all the gigs were used to find a set Jesse Collins working band and to experiment in new musical directions.
In 2012 Jesse released "New York by Night" for Real Bean Records (Real Bean 1112). It was a re-release of the live material from the Jazz Times magazine critic's Top 10 Pick "Introducing Jesse Collins" (Lat Cat 2103).
At the same time, Jesse had the great fortune to be reintroduced to some of the musical directions of former NYC acquaintances such as Brad Mehldau and Ari Hoenig, among others. He was thrilled by the new directions in straight ahead jazz music he heard and decided to create a new Jesse Collins group built on all of his writing in different jazz styles.
In 2013 Jesse recorded and released "Ask Me Now" which was nominated for the Syracuse Area Music Award(SAMMYS) Jazz Recording of the Year .Throughout 2013 Jesse continued to play through out the northeast United States and upstate NY and played several times at the great music festival Sterling Stage, where he finalized the development of a new group called the Jesse Collins Quartet, or JCQ .
In the Fall 2013, he released "JCQ / Free To Be Free," which featured the great drummer Byron Cage, on Real Bean Records.
In early 2014 JCQ "Free to be Free" was voted the best Jazz CD of the year by the Syracuse Area Music Awards(SAMMYS) ,and Jesse began work on the next new music for the JCQ.
From the success of JCQ "Free to Be Free", the 2014 Spring -Summer season was one of the most productive periods for Jesse and JC Music to date,. Throughout the year, Jesse continued to perform with the JCQ and JCDuo in Upstate NY ,while continuing to finish the music for his new music vehicles ,the Jesse Collins Quartet and the new Jesse Collins Sextet.
In Fall 2014 Jesse moved to Ithaca NY to build a new base of operations for Jesse Collins Music and Real Bean Records.
In Ithaca, Jesse began the further development of his plans for Jesse Collins Music and Real Bean Records. He was joined in Ithaca by his old friend ,and great drummer ,Doug Navarro, who Jesse had met and worked with in Ithaca in the Late-1980's, as well as in NYC in the 1990's and Upstate through out the 2000's. Together they rehearsed 3 times a week, and fully developed both the JC Quartet concept ("Neo Straight Ahead"/JC Originals and Standards),as well as a JC Sextet concept featuring the JC Original music, and popular music covers designed for a dancing audience.
From August to October, Jesse and Doug rehearsed and prepared for the Late fall-2014 JCQ Gigs. On October 21 , Doug's Mother called Jesse to inform him that Doug had passed away in his sleep the night before. Jesse was completely shocked at the loss of his great friend and irreplaceable drummer. The next gig which was the following Wednesday after Doug's passing was done without a drummer, as Jesse began to plan his next steps.
After two weeks of a mourning and celebration period of the life of Doug Navarro, Jesse realized a new plan to further develop Jesse Collins Music and Real Bean Records . Jesse decided to continue to develop gigs in Ithaca, Syracuse as well as Upstate NY, while beginning to return to NYC to reconnect with more great musicians( to learn more music personally and to make greater Real Bean recordings), as well as to create more gig getting opportunities.
After a long Winter in Upstate of practicing and further JCMusic and Real Bean Records foundation building, Spring 2015 arrived ,and with it came a whole new ,and next phase of Jesse's music career.
2015 was a great year for the JC Music and Real Bean Records brands. Jesse continued to build more musical and professional foundations in Ithaca NY, and he met many great musicians through out the Spring, which lead to one of the best Summer seasons to date in JCMusic with Jesse playing in Syracuse ,Rochester, Pulaski, Ithaca and Hannibal NY. In August Jesse began to plan the next steps to take hie career to its next level.
He didn't have to wait long for the next great thing. In September Jesse got a call to be on a recording for drummer Bob Holz, which included Jazz legends Randy Brecker , Larry Coryell and Mike Stern. In October and November Jesse played with Larry Corryell, in Bob Holz's group "A Vision Forward".
2016 was the best year in the history of Jesse Collins Music to date. In early 2016 Jesse continued to build his music and music business, playing many great Upstate shows with the new JCQ, featuring Upstate and Ithaca NY guitar legend Steve Brown, as well as many great shows as a sideman with some prominent Upstate music groups including the Salt City Jazz Collective, The Hot Foot Club of Ithaca and Jorge Cuentas and the Latin Jazz All Stars. Also, Jesse began to return more and more to his "home of homes" in NYC. In March, Jesse played with the newly formed Collins-Miller Quintet @ The Williamsburg Music Center. The great group for the show included the young virtuosic pianist Ben Miller ,as well as NYC Jazz heavyweight's Taru Alexander and Miles Griffith.
Through out the year Jesse continued to perform with the JCQ and in July, Jesse formed Real Bean Productions, an employee/musician owned music production organization, dedicated to the music known popularly as Jazz, in all in wonderful forms, and dedicated to the preservation of the musicians who perform and create it. In August Jesse began to work on his next recording for Real Bean Records.