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Lee Collins (1901-1960)
Lee Collins (1901-1960)Lee Collins (October 17, 1901 – July 3, 1960) got his start on the trumpet playing with brass bands in New Orleans as a teenager. He played in Pops Foster’s Young Eagles, and in orchestras around town. In 1924 he went North to replace Louis Armstrong in King Olivers Creole Jazz Band, after Armstrong quit to join Fletcher Henderson in New York. While in Chicago, Collins played on an early recording date with Jelly Roll Morton’s Kings of Jazz.

He was a close friend of Jelly Roll, but the two had a falling out when Collins claimed that Morton stole the song “Fish Tail Blues” from him. In 1930 Collins moved to New York to play in Luis Russell’s Orchestra, but only stayed with the band for 6 months, before returning to Chicago for a year and then moving back to New Orleans for a brief while, then once again returning to Chicago.

Lee Collins
Photo: John Miner (1951)
Hogan Jazz Archive

He played trumpet on dozens of Blues records, backing up singers like Victoria Spivey, Lil Johnson and Chippie Hill. During the Dixieland revival of the 1940s, Collins recorded and toured with Mezz Mezzrow.

band or session leader

Jones & Collins Astoria Hot Eight

Lee Collins (1901-1960)

Oh, Didn’t He Ramble, The Life Story of Lee Collins, edited by Frank J. Gillis and John W. Miner, University Of Illinois Press, 1974 was a pioneering website during the "Information wants to be Free" era of the 1990s. In that spirit we are recovering the lost data from the now defunct site and sharing it with you.
Most of the music in the archive is in the form of MP3s hosted on or the French servers of where this music is all in the public domain.
Files unavailable from those sources we host ourselves. They were made from original 78 RPM records in the hands of private collectors in the 1990s who contributed to the original They were hosted as .ra files originally and we have converted them into the more modern MP3 format. They are of inferior quality to what is available commercially and are intended for reference purposes only. In some cases a Real Audio (.ra) file from will download. Don't be scared! Those files will play in many music programs, but not Windows Media Player.

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