It is an established fact that an extraordinary number of musicians with the surname Collins become obscure trumpeters. At one point a sequel to Young Man with a Horn was even planned, to be titled "Young Unknown Man Named Collins With a Horn". There is not, however, both a trumpeter named Bert Collins and another who spells his name Burt Collins, despite the efforts of certain gleefully vowel-swapping typesetters to convince the public otherwise. The discography of recording sessions credited under either spelling is of course large enough to constitute respectable collective achievements on behalf of two, three or even four seperate musicians, not even factoring in numerous productions for which Collins wound up uncredited.
But there is nothing unbelieveable about a single A-list trumpeter based out of New York City piling up such a large discography.
Since the '50s Collins has been active in big bands playing jazz as well as orchestral or small horn section accompaniment for numerous pop, soul and vocal music vocalists in studios. He came out of the busy Philadelphia scene, the trumpeter's first major employers bandleaders such as Neal Hefti, Woody Herman and Dizzy Gillespie, none of whom ever cut a trumpet player a break. Beginning in 1956 he began close association with an orchestra organized by Johnny Richards, also playing regularly with trombonist Urbie Green. Collins' style evolved over the years: he started out wanting to be a melodist in the appealing, popular Harry James mode, then became enchanted with the technical mysticism of hard bop virtuosos, particularly the brilliant Clifford Brown. When Collins gets space on a recording session he inevitably brings a great deal of class to the proceedings.