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Collins, Shad (actually, Lester Ralling Ston)

band june february cab

Collins, Shad (actually, Lester Ralling Ston), jazz trumpeter; b. Elizabeth, N.J., June 27, 1910; d. N.Y., June 1978. A subtle stylist, he was evidently a favorite of Lester Young, who worked with him in Basie’s band and then chose him for his own group after leaving Basie. Raised in Lockport, N.Y., his first professional work was in a band led by Charlie Dixon (fronted by vocalist Cora LaRedd), then, from late 1929 until 1930, Collins was in a band led by pianist Eddie White. He spent the 1930s working with a number of leading bands, including Chick Webb (1931), Benny Carter (1933), Tiny Bradshaw (1934), Teddy Hill (1936–37); had a short stay with Don Redman and then with Count Basie from December 1938 until January 1940. In February 1940 he joined Carter’s Band, then from October worked in Freddy Moore’s Band. Collins was with the Lester Young Sextet in N.Y (February 1941), then worked with Buddy Johnson until replacing Dizzy Gillespie in Cab Calloway’s Band in Sept. 1941. He was with Cab until June 1943 and again 1944–46. Collins worked with Buster Harding’s Band (1948), Al Sears (1950), toured with Jimmy Rushing in the early 1950s, and then worked in N.Y. for various leaders, including a long spell with tenorist Sam “The Man” Taylor. He left full-time music but continued to gig in the 1960s.

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