Growing up, Laura loved Classical music, taking all the grades in ‘cello and piano. At Cambridge University, she heard Nina Simone's singing. Laura’s mind was blown by its soulfulness. She was studying Italian and French at the time, performing with the Cambridge Footlights and singing in chapel choir as an awarded chorister. She threw off her cassock and began her jazz adventure.
'Laura demonstrates a great jazz sensibility' Claire Martin, OBE
After frequenting the jazz bars of Rome, she became a Master of jazz at the Guildhall School of Music. There she learned from some of the most prominent figures in the medium, including Lee Gibson, Norma Winstone Anita Wardell and Trudy Kerr. She later shared a stage with greats including Tina May, Andy Cleyndert, Tony Levin, Paul Sawtell, Craig Milverton, Alan Barnes and Dave Newton.
‘Liturgical music's loss has undoubtedly been jazz's gain’ Peter Quinn, Jazzwise
Laura released the 2010 album 'Baltimore Oriole: Introducing Laura Collins' on Spotlite Records, which issues Charlie Parker's Dial Recordings. With great reviews, it launched to a full house at London's 606 Club with a guest appearance by ex Jazz Messengers saxophonist Jean Toussaint. The album featured some of Britain's best jazz musicians, Barry Green, Sam Dunn, Matt Skelton, Jeremy Brown and the legend that is Dick Pearce on trumpet and flugelhorn. Laura is most influenced by the voices of Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter, Ella Fitzgerald and Norma Winstone.
’a voice that is strong and clear, with precise enunciation, impeccable timing’ In Tune International
Laura has a strong raft of gigging experience at a number of venues including Town hall, Birmingham, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, the National Theatre, London, Swansea Jazzland, the Wales Millennium Centre and the Bull's Head, London. She has played at festivals including Aberjazz, Brecon Jazz Festival, the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Marlborough Jazz Festival, Porthcawl International Jazz Festival, Bridgnorth Jazz Festival and Ludlow Jazz Festival. Now resident in Birmingham UK, she has worked both singing and playing piano for the Royal Shakespeare Company. She is a charismatic big band vocalist, having sung with Mike Fletcher's big band and is the vocalist for 'Birmingham's hottest [big] swing band', the Jim Wynn Swing Orchestra, who in 2017 converted Birmingham Symphony Hall into a ballroom for an 'Ever After Vintage Spectacular'.
’Laura brings out the true meaning of the lyric’ Lee Gibson, acclaimed jazz singer
Photo by Peter Schiazza