Saturday, Aug 6, 2016 – 9:30 to 11:00
MICA (South) Stage
“. . . with her robust approach and sparkling personality, Ramona Collins is a regional artist worthy of wider recognition.”
- Andrew Hovan, All About Jazz (AAJ) Journalist/Photographer/Musician
Singer/songwriter/educator/actress & radio host Ramona Collins was born in Toledo OH but grew up in Lansing MI where her mother was a jazz pianist and singer. Ramona is a premier entertainer whose fun, sassy, sultry & swingin’ shows have made her an audience favorite at clubs, concerts and festivals wherever she goes. She covers all the flavors from honey to hot sauce whether she is half of a duo or fronting an orchestra. Ramona is a past president of the Toledo Jazz Society, considered a jazz activist by many who know her, and she was the driving force for renaming Toledo’s former jazz festival in honor of the late, great Art Tatum.
She has worked with a who’s who of jazz musicians in the Midwest and beyond, and been honored for her contributions to the arts in her hometown of Toledo. In 2011 she was also nominated in the female jazz vocalist category for the Detroit Black Music Awards, is currently a Motown Ambassador and was recently voted “Best of Toledo in Jazz/Blues”, among other honors. She has performed in the Vocal Summit at the East Lansing Summer Solstice Jazz Festival, the MSU Martin Luther King celebration “Prayers, Spirituals & Protests.”
Ramona was a fixture at the 40 year-old Rusty’s Jazz Café in Toledo before it was sold, and she was in the regular rotation at Toledo’s Murphy’s Place and a a crowd favorite at the old Bird of Paradise Jazz Club in Ann Arbor. She has performed many times at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge and other great jazz venues in Detroit including The Dirty Dog Jazz Café, Bert’s Jazz Club, and Moriarty’s Pub in Lansing and the Kerrytown Concert House. She currently leads her own groups is often the featured vocalist with the Toledo Jazz Orchestra.
She has produced and recorded two independent albums, “Everything Old Is New Again” (1997) and “Live & Lovin’ It” (2004). She loves live music and showcased two of Toledo’s historic landmarks, Rusty’s Jazz Café and The Toledo Museum of Art by recording her albums in those venues. Both albums are available for download @ cdbaby.com. Bass master Ralphe Armstrong recently asked her to be a guest vocalist on his latest cd “Detroit Rising”. She is currently working on original material for her next recording project.
This singer views her performing career as part entertainment, part educational. To that end, she has taken aspiring young performers under her wing, supporting and encouraging them. “There are a number of young people who have talent and a great respect for jazz,” she says. “I’m thrilled they view me as a mentor…it’s inspiring.”