Five Firsts: Jay Collins of Jay Collins & the Kings County Band

Jay Collins
Jay Collins

NAME: Jay Collins
BAND AFFILIATION: Jay Collins & the Kings County Band. I also regularly play with the Gregg Allman Band, the Levon Helm Band and the Dukes of September (Donald Fagen, Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald)
INSTRUMENT: Saxophone, flute

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … “Elvis Presley Solid Gold Hits.” I bought it from a TV ad, and it came in the mail in a paper cover with no info on it – just the names of the songs.

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … Muddy Waters and Bonnie Raitt. Probably 1973 in San Diego, CA. I was like five years old. My parents brought me, but I think it was because they didn’t have a baby-sitter. I wanted to go home after a couple songs. I’m sure I would love it now…

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … an alto sax. I got one at the age of 12.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … Who knows? The first time I remember going and playing with some professional musicians in public, we played “Billie’s Bounce” by Charlie Parker. I had learned the melody but had no idea what key we were in, and didn’t even know what a “key” was!!!! I played a bunch of licks, and it must have been OK because they asked me to come back…

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … A bunch of us at Wilson High School in Portland, OR formed a party band that played bad covers of James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, etc. I don’t remember what we called ourselves, and I don’t think we played more than a couple “gigs.” I’m still in touch with the drummer. I’ll have to ask him what we called it…

In celebration of the release of the new album, “Blues, Rivers and Other People,” saxman Jay Collins leads his band the Kings County Band – also featuring guitarist Scott Sharrard, keyboardist Dred Scott, bassist Jeff Hanley and drummer Diego Voglino – into the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock at 9pm on Friday (April 6). Tix are $10. Jay Collins & the Kings County Band will also play with the Levon Helm Band at Levon’s Midnight Ramble in Woodstock at 8pm on Saturday, April 21.

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