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William "Buddy" Collette

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Information about William "Buddy" Collette

Profile image of William "Buddy" Collette

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Jazz Musician

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Brown, Green
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Australia, Italy, France
Favorite Quote:
It Is Better To Be A Part Of Something Than Be All Of Nothing.

Birthplace

Born:
8/6/1921
Birth Location:
Los Angeles, California

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Jazz Musician

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Brown, Green
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Australia, Italy, France
Favorite Quote:
It Is Better To Be A Part Of Something Than Be All Of Nothing.

Birthplace

Born:
8/6/1921
Birth Location:
Los Angeles
See how William "Buddy" Collette is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Jazz musician William “Buddy” Collette was born on August 6, 1921 in Los Angeles, California to Willie Hugh and Goldie Marie Collette. Collette cultivated his love for music at a young age, taking up the alto-saxophone and forming his first group at age twelve. This group included Britt Woodman on the trombone and Charles Mingus on the bass. By age seventeen, Collette was performing professionally and soon thereafter, he served in the U.S. Navy as a bandleader during World War II.

After returning from the war, Collette began playing with the Stars of Swing, a jazz quartet featuring saxophonist Dexter Gordon, bassist Charles Mingus, and drummer Chico Hamilton. The group helped to keep bebop music alive in Los Angeles during the mid-1940s in the historic Center Avenue neighborhood. In 1949, Collette performed around Los Angeles with a variety of jazz musicians including Edgar Hayes, Louis Jordan, Benny Carter, and Gerald Wilson. By 1950, Collette was working as a studio musician, and became the first African American musician to perform on television on the Groucho Marx show You Bet Your Life. In 1954, Collette worked as a disc jockey under the pseudonym of Sleepy Stein and released an album entitled Tanganyika, with a group consisting of Collette, drummer Chico Hamilton, trumpeter John Anderson, pianist Gerald Wiggins, guitarist Jimmy Hall, and bassist Curtis Counce. In 1955, Collette gained national recognition after he became a founding member of Chico Hamilton’s legendary quintet. In 1956, Collette recorded his first album, Man of Many Parts, as a bandleader. Later that year, Collette followed his debut album with Nice Day with Buddy Collette, which led to a string of albums throughout 1958 and 1959 including Calm Cool and Collette, Porgy and Bess, and Jazz Loves Paris.

By 1966, Collette had become a noteworthy educator in Los Angeles. He also freelanced, worked in the studios, played in clubs and taught aspiring jazz musicians. Collette’s students included such renowned woodwind players as Eric Dolphy, Charles Lloyd, Frank Morgan, Sonny Criss and James Newton.

In 1988, Collette recorded Flute Talk, his first album as a bandleader since 1964. Collette also produced a spoken word record on his experiences with jazz in 1994, Jazz for Thousand Oaks in 1996, and Live from the Nation’s Capital in 2000.

Collette passed away on September 19, 2010 at the age of 89.

See how William "Buddy" Collette is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William "Buddy" Collette's interview, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William "Buddy" Collette lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William "Buddy" Collette describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William "Buddy" Collette describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William "Buddy" Collette describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William "Buddy" Collette talks about his extended family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William "Buddy" Collette describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William "Buddy" Collette remembers a lesson from his father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Slating of William "Buddy" Collette's interview, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William "Buddy" Collette remembers his home life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William "Buddy" Collette describes his neighborhood in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William "Buddy" Collette describes the smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William "Buddy" Collette recalls his early interest in music
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William "Buddy" Collette remembers 96th Street Elementary School in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William "Buddy" Collette remembers meeting Art Tatum
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William "Buddy" Collette remembers busking with Charles Mingus
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William "Buddy" Collette describes his religious upbringing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - William "Buddy" Collette describes his peers at David Starr Jordan High School in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - William "Buddy" Collette remembers the Woodman brothers' band
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William "Buddy" Collette remembers the Great Depression
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William "Buddy" Collette recalls his early musical influences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William "Buddy" Collette remembers his friendship with Charles Mingus
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William "Buddy" Collette recalls playing with his first band
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William "Buddy" Collette remembers playing in a U.S. Navy Reserve band, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William "Buddy" Collette remembers playing in a U.S. Navy Reserve band, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William "Buddy" Collette describes his early music lessons
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William "Buddy" Collette describes the racial discrimination in the U.S. Navy Reserve
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William "Buddy" Collette remembers the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and Arts
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William "Buddy" Collette recalls forming a band with Charles Mingus
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William "Buddy" Collette talks about playing jazz flute
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William "Buddy" Collette recalls playing at the Downbeat in Los Angeles, California, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William "Buddy" Collette recalls playing at the Downbeat in Los Angeles, California, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William "Buddy" Collette describes Charles Mingus
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William "Buddy" Collette recalls his workshops at the Crystal Tea Room in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William "Buddy" Collette remembers Central Avenue in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William "Buddy" Collette describes the Community Symphony Orchestra
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William "Buddy" Collette recalls joining the orchestra on 'You Bet Your Life,' pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William "Buddy" Collette recalls joining the orchestra on 'You Bet Your Life,' pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William "Buddy" Collette remembers playing flute on 'You Bet Your Life'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William "Buddy" Collette talks about African Americans on television
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William "Buddy" Collette recalls filming 'You Bet Your Life'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William "Buddy" Collette remembers Buddy Collette and His Swinging Shepherds
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William "Buddy" Collette recalls protesting discrimination at the Academy Awards
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - William "Buddy" Collette remembers playing at the Academy Awards
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William "Buddy" Collette remembers the Watts uprisings
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William "Buddy" Collette describes his musical career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William "Buddy" Collette remembers Groucho Marx
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William "Buddy" Collette recalls his election to the American Federation of Musicians Local 47 board
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William "Buddy" Collette describes his work with Fred Katz and Chico Hamilton
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - William "Buddy" Collette talks about his teaching career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - William "Buddy" Collette reflects upon his success
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - William "Buddy" Collette describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - William "Buddy" Collette reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - William "Buddy" Collette reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - William "Buddy" Collette narrates his photographs