Pin It

C.D. Review: Jay Collins 

click to enlarge Sundown Recordings, 2007
  • Sundown Recordings, 2007

Saxophonist Jay Collins was a West Coast jazzman before he became an East Coast soul singer. Now, with The Songbird and the Pigeon, Collins echoes his employer Gregg Allman and his father-in-law Levon Helm while forging his own voice. He’s not there yet, but he’s getting close. He’ll need to pay royalties to Bob Dylan for ripping off “Gotta Serve Somebody” with “If You Don’t Stand for Something,” and he might even owe Tom Waits a few pennies for “My Dreams Came Back,” but elsewhere he sounds confidently like Jay Collins.
His Kings County Band provides consistently strong backing—supple here, fiery there—and it’s clear that Collins understands the structure of music deeply. There’s a funky Bobby Womack snap, for example, to “The Money Hole”; a huge strut behind “All My Tears”; and a taut, jittery groove on “Financial Consultation.” But lyrically, the latter is yesterday’s news, both in its poetry-slam leanings and its dated economic breakdown. Elsewhere, as on “Shotgun Past,” Collins gets mired in blues tropes but then upends them, burning up his memories by using “your black panties for a torch.” When he connects, as on the gorgeous “Sounds Like Home” and the slippery title track, Collins actually grabs the grandeur of The Band without aping it. And when he finally unleashes some of his bittersweet sax on the album-closing affirmation, “Waltz for a Boy,” it’s a revelation. Songbird is the sound of a musician in flight, and he’s on his way to a good place. www.jaycollinsband.com.

Speaking of...

  • Review of new music by Jay Collins and his Kings Country Band.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • The Wizard of Bard

    Leon Botstein
    • May 1, 2015
  • CD Review: "The Poughkeepsie Jazz Project"

    If you want to catch some of the best jazz in the Hudson Valley, head over to the Derby bar and restaurant on Main Street in Poughkeepsie. Since 2013, the duo of pianist John Scanlon and bassist Ben Basile has held court there every Tuesday, jamming with an array of local talent each week and establishing Po-Town as a rising force in local bop.
    • Aug 1, 2015

Hudson Valley Events

submit event

Made In Kingston

Thu., Dec. 8, 4-8 p.m. — The fourth annual Made In Kingston event will be co-sponsored by the...

Movie: Hackers

Thu., Dec. 8, 6-7:30 p.m. — Join us this Computer Science Education Week for a series of classic...

View all of today's events

Latest in Music

Related to Music

  • Opera in Phoenicia Park
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park

    With its open-air format, where attendees picnic in the parks and watch the stars emerge during performances, and its $5 youth tickets, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is the perfect place to share with children a love of music and theater, in a variety of styles.
    • Jul 25, 2016
  • More »

More by Michael Ruby

Hudson Valley Tweets