Ramona Collins Quartet
Singer, songwriter, actress, educator, emcee, and WXTS-FM radio personality Ramona Collins is a premier entertainer whose fun, sassy, sultry & swingin’ shows have made her an audience favorite.
Audiences throughout the Midwest have known for quite some time that this Toledo-based singer is one of the region's true treasures and best-kept secrets. Born in Toledo, Ohio, Ramona was reared in Lansing, Michigan, by a jazz pianist/singer mother - the late Alice (Collins) Carter - who encouraged her daughter to sing at an early age to combat her shyness. Today, anyone fortunate enough to witness the veteran performer at work will detect not a whit of shyness. Sultry, seasoned, witty and cool are words that come to mind when experiencing this engaging performer whose command of the stage and vast repertoire have helped her establish a solid rapport with club, concert and festival audiences wherever she goes.
Ramona recorded early in her career. She made her debut at age sixteen, singing standards on a recording accompanied by her mother and a drummer. Her voice attracted attention from local musicians and before long she was sitting in at jam sessions and clubs with her mother's musician friends. Her reputation as an exceptional song stylist and performer continues to attract musicians and songwriters of all ages, even today.
She recorded in 1970 a song, “You’ve Been Cheating”, that is a collector’s item in the UK and which she was asked to sing in 2018 @ the Detroit A Go Go event held in Detroit by Phil Dick of the UK, who has produced three productions honoring Motown, it’s stars and the city of Detroit.
Singer, songwriter, actress, educator, emcee, and WXTS-FM radio personality Ramona Collins is a premier entertainer whose fun, sassy, sultry & swingin’ shows have made her an audience favorite. She covers all the flavors from honey to hot sauce whether she is half of a duo or fronting an orchestra. Know as a jazz singer, she sings other genres as well.
Ramona has worked with a who’s who of first class musicians in the Midwest and beyond, and been honored for her contributions to the arts in her hometown of Toledo and been voted Best of Toledo in jazz/blues in 2015, 2016, 2018 and nominated in that category for 2019. In 2011 she was nominated in the female jazz vocalist category for the Detroit Black Music Awards She was the driving force behind naming the former Art Tatum Jazz Festival during her time as president of the Toledo Jazz Society.
Ramona worked regularly at the 40 year-old Rusty’s Jazz Café before it was sold, and was a fixture on the stage at Murphy’s Place Jazz Club and Ann Arbor’s Bird Of Paradise Jazz Club. Other rooms she has worked include Lily Pearl’s, Degage Jazz Club, Ye Olde Durty Bird, Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, Bert’s Jazz Café, The Music Hall w/Thornetta Davis, The Carr Center, The Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe; Moriarty’s Pub and the Wharton Center in Lansing and East Lansing, and many other popular jazz venues in the Midwest. She is often a featured vocalist with the Toledo Jazz Orchestra and the Masters of Music Big Band. Ramona had the opportunity to sing with pianist extraordinaire Johnny O’Neal in New York at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in Lincoln Center, Small’s Jazz Club, Smoke Jazz Club, and was one of the last singers to work at the historic Lenox Lounge in Harlem New York with the Greg Bandy Trio shortly before the club closed. She has opened for Gladys Knight and Jennifer Holliday. On those occasions when Ramona ran into the late Etta Jones, Etta would also remark that Ramona reminded her of her good friend Pearlie Mae, the late Pearl Bailey, one of Ramona’s favorite entertainers.
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 these venues. Both albums are available for download @ cdbaby.com. Other recordings include singing with the Toledo Jazz Orchestra on their album ‘Out Of Nowhere”, and singing background vocals on international bassist Ralphe Armstrong’s 2016 album “Detroit Rising”. She and singer Trez Gregory also provided background vocals for “PHd In The Blues”, a great cd by bluesman Bobby G. She also recorded a cd with pianist and singer extraordinaire Johnny O’Neal that has not yet been released. Ramona is currently working on original material for her next recording project.
She views her performing career as part entertainment, part educational. To that end, she has taken aspiring young performers under her wing educatins, 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.
Suggested Entertainment FeeWith the goal of providing amazing hospitality with minimal rules, the Blue LLama Jazz Club doesn't have a mandatory cover charge when featuring local and regional artists. However, our mission is to bring the best talent to our community and you will see a "suggested entertainment fee" line on the check. While it's not required, you're welcome to add the suggested amount per person to help us continue our mission of presenting amazing music five days a week on the Blue LLama stage.