The saxophone player of choice for famous artists such as Gregg Allman, Little Feat, Levon Helm, and Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen, Jay Collins is also an exciting singer, arranger, writer, and dynamic band-leader.
Jay played on 2 Grammy-winning recordings with Levon Helm, a platinum-selling DVD with the Allman Brothers Band (Live at the Beacon Theater), and was featured on horns and arrangements for 2 recordings with Gregg Allman, one of which was the Grammy-nominated release, “Southern Blood” (2017).
Whether fronting his own band, The Northern Resistance, on lead vocals and sax, blowing his horn at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock NY with the Midnight Ramble Band, or touring and arranging horns for the legendary group Little Feat,
Collins always delivers. In an era where many learned to play music in a school, Jay is one of those rare musicians who learned to play the old-fashioned way: “on the bandstand”. Although known as a horn player and arranger, Jay’s singing and song-writing abilities are a pleasant surprise to music lovers!
His granite pipes prompted Time Out NY to note that, “His soulful ‘croak’ definitely deserves to be heard!” and Blues Revue said, “Jay Collins plays a hot saxophone, but he covers a lot more ground than that…..” Hittin’ the Note Magazine stated,
“Rivers, Blues, and Other People makes a resounding case for Collins the singer, songwriter, and bandleader.”
Originally a native of Portland, Oregon, but moving to New York in 1992, Jay was the horn arranger, saxophone player (2001-2016), and musical director (2006-2013) for the Gregg Allman Band, a gig he held for 15 years.
“He has a killer tone…”-Gregg Allman.
Jay also toured thru 2010-11 with The Dukes of September, a collective group featuring Donald Fagen, Boz Scaggs, and Michael McDonald, played with Ray LaMontagne, Melissa Etheridge, James Hunter, and lately has been lending his horn talents to the legendary band, Little Feat. In addition, Mr. Collins has serious jazz credentials, including touring and recording stints with Jacky Terrasson (1999-2000), Andrew Hill (1998-1999) and Bobby Sanabria (1997-2004, 2 Grammy-nominated releases) plus many others.
Jay’s 2012 recording, “Blues, Rivers, and Other People”, was recorded at Levon Helm’s Studio in Woodstock, NY. The recording featured Levon on drums, Donald Fagen on piano, Larry Campbell (of Bob Dylan fame), and guitar wizard Scott Sharrard among many others….
"With a surprisingly gruff voice, he delivers his rollicking original tunes that blend the down-and-out sensibility of Tom Waits with the barrelhouse American roots sound of The Band.” -San Francisco Chronicle/Contra Costa Times (CA)
His current group, Jay Collins and the Northern Resistance, is composed of the finest young rock and roll players in NY’s Hudson Valley. They are the direct musical descendants of great musicians you know and love.
Their release, “The John Brown EP”, came out in the fall of 2016 and more new music is set to be released in 2022.