Tom Collier

"Collier ... is so well-equipped academically that his sleight-of-hand solos already are a fascinating study."  -Leonard Feather, Los Angeles Times-

"Collier’s mellow reverberation on the vibes has a graceful, ruminative sway. He maintains the song structure, but with freewheeling agility." - Scott Yanow, Jazz Historian and Journalist-

"Tom Collier, a great vibes player...."  -Emil Richards autobiography, "Wonderful World Of Percussion"-

"Tom Collier ... one of the best jazz vibraphonists on the planet."  -Scott Mercado interview, Modern Drummer Magazine- 

"Collier turns phrases and builds lines that set a new musical standard for the vibraphone."  -F. Michael Combs, Percussive Notes/Percussive Arts Society-

 "(Collier) makes vibes and marimbas the expressive and emotional equal of piano keyboards."  -Robert Carlberg, Keyboard Magazine-

 "Speaking of technical brilliance, the show was opened by an impressive set by vibraphonist Tom Collier and electric bassist Dan Dean." -Patrick MacDonald, Seattle Times-

 A sampling of the many accolades accorded to vibraphonist/marimbist Tom Collier during his nearly 60 years in music is a reflection of his international reputation in jazz, classical and pop circles. Collier celebrated his first public performance at the age of 5 in 1954 and marked the 60th anniversary of that performance with a concert at Meany Hall in Seattle, WA in April 2014.

 Tom has appeared in concert and on recordings with many important jazz and popular artists including Eddie Daniels, Ry Cooder, Earl "Fatha" Hines, Roger Kellaway, Emil Richards, Don Grusin, Alex Acuña, Frank Zappa, Ralph Humphrey, Victor Feldman, Howard Roberts, Ernie Watts, Dave Holland, Cal Tjader, Shelly Manne, Joe Porcaro, Laurindo Almeida, Buddy DeFranco, Cuong Vu, Diane Schurr, Peggy Lee, Natalie Cole, Morganna King, Herb Ellis, Bill Mays, Bobby Shew, Ernestine Anderson, Mannheim Steamroller, Sammy Davis, Jr., Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Olivia Newton-John, The Beach Boys, The Mills Brothers, Della Reese and many more.

Collier has released several jazz albums as leader or co-leader beginning with Whistling Midgets (with long-time musical cohort Dan Dean) for Inner City Records in 1981. Collier and Dean's 2005 album, Duets on Origin Records, was nominated for "2005 Jazz Album of the Year" by Earshot Magazine. Other recordings include Illusion (1988, T.C. Records), Pacific Aire (1990, Nebula Records), and Mallet Jazz (2004, Origin Records). Collier & Dean released their third album, Sleek Buick, in August, 2014 on the Origin label featuring several significant jazz artists including saxophonists Ernie Watts and Gary Herbig, trumpeter Allen Vizzutti, pianist Don Grusin, and drummers Alex Acuña and Ted Poor. Sleek Buick received extensive national and international radio airplay spending 15 weeks on the JazzWeek Top 200 radio chart and received placement on the 2015 GRAMMY ballot for "Best Jazz Instrumental Album".

In 2014, Tom was awarded a Royalty Research Grant by the University of Washington to produce three new recording projects that were released on Origin Records in 2015-16. The first, Alone In The Studio, featured Collier playing all of the instruments including vibes, marimba, piano, drums and synthesizer bass. The album garnered much critical praise and national radio airplay and received placement on the 2016 GRAMMY ballet for "Best Instrumental Jazz Album" and "Best Instrumental Jazz Solo". The second project was released in November, 2016 and contained nine new original compositions connected to his childhood home in West Seattle. Entitled Across The Bridge, Collier teamed up with legendary guitarists Bill Frisell and Larry Coryell in creating another critically acclaimed album. Produced by his longtime musical cohort, Dan Dean, the album was accepted by the Recording Academy for the 2017 GRAMMY ballot for "Best Instrumental Jazz Album", Best Instrumental Jazz Solo", and "Best Produced Album". The third album, Impulsive Illuminations, was released in November, 2016 and features guitarist Bill Frisell, trombonist Stuart Dempster, clarinetist William O. Smith, trumpeter Cuong Vu, and pianist Richard Karpen.

In the classical arena, Collier has appeared as guest soloist with the Seattle Symphony, The Denver Symphony, The Bellevue Philharmonic, The Northwest Chamber Orchestra, The Everett Symphony and The Olympia Symphony. He was timpanist in the Los Angeles Repertoire Orchestra in 1976, vibraphonist in L.A. Contempo Four, 1975-77(a modern music ensemble), timpanist with the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, 1972-73. As a solo artist, Tom has released two classical recordings on the Origin Classical label; Mallet Fantastique (2010) , featuring new original compositions for marimba and/or vibraphone, and Tom Collier Plays Haydn, Mozart, Telemann, and Others (2012), a recording of duets primarily for two violins rearranged for marimba and vibraphone, both instruments played by Collier through the process of overdubbing. That album was placed on the 2013 GRAMMY ballot for "Best Classical Solo Performance".

Collier has also recorded several educational albums for Music Minus One and Studio 4 Music and has presented over 300 jazz concerts in public schools around Washington State for the Arts In Education Program of the state Arts Commission. In 1980, Collier was presented with an "Outstanding Service To Jazz Education" award by the National Association of Jazz Educators, and over the past thirty years, he has won 23 ASCAP Popular Panel Awards for his various jazz and percussion compositions.

Tom was Director of Percussion Studies at the University of Washington from 1980-2016 and was appointed Professor of Percussion and Jazz in 2001. He twice served as Chair of Jazz Studies at the school in 2001-2003 and again 2011-2012. In 2011, the prestigious Adelaide D. Currie Cole Endowed Professorship in the School of Music was awarded to Collier for the academic years 2011-2014. After 36 years at the University, he retired in June, 2016 and was immediately honored with a new title, Professor Emeritus of Percussion and Jazz Studies.

In addition to the above, Collier was appointed to the South Central School District Board of Directors in 1987 (now the Tukwila School District), and he won re-election in the 1989 general election by a two-thirds majority. He was instrumental in planning the new Foster High School and making sure that the facility had a functional, beautiful performing arts auditorium by spearheading a partnership with the city of Tukwila in securing additional funds to ensure its inclusion in the final plans for the school.