Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Collett, Frank

Collett, Frank, piano; b. 3 May 1941. Joseph and Mary Taglieri became the proud parents of their first child, Frank.  The family had a great appreciation for music, which they shared with Frank and their other two children, Johnny and Anna Marie.  Frank's grandfather was an accomplished musician who worked woodwinds and performed with Arturo Toscanini.  His father was an operatic tenor, who performed at the Hippodrome, Carnegie Hall and The Academy of Music.  His mother was a classical pianist who performed numerous recitals and accompanied various opera singers.

During Frank's formative years, he became enchanted by the sound of music as he listened to his mother play the piano.  At age four, he began studying piano under his mother's tutelage.  His parents soon discovered that in addition to his boundless enthusiasm for listening to music, their son also has perfect pitch.  By age 7, he had debuted at Carnegie Hall, the Brooklyn Library and performed on numerous live radio shows. He was considered a child prodigy.  His diligence was rewarded with a full scholarship to attend the prestigious Julliard School of Music when he was only 6 years old.  His teachers included three of the best classical piano instructors in New York including Paul Gallico, Dr. David LeVita and Herbert Stessin.

As a teenager, He became fascinated with jazz and R&B music.  Switching from the piano, he began to play the tenor saxophone and other instruments that included the acoustic bass and vibes.  After deciding to become a jazz musician, he changed his name from Taglieri to Collett. In 1959, Frank moved to Chicago and played in different nightclubs.  He later returned to New York and devoted himself to playing jazz in and around New York City.  He was drafted into military service in 1963. It did not take long for the military to take notice of his enormous talent.  He was assigned to the West Point Military Academy Band where he performed at the Officer's Club.  After receiving an honorable discharge in 1966, Collett remained in New York where he formed his own jazz trio and played the local jazz circuit.

He was asked to join legendary vocalist Sarah Vaughan in 1968. The following year he moved to Las Vegas, Nevada.  He became the house pianist, with the orchestra in the main showroom of the International Hotel, (presently the Las Vegas Hilton).  Collett played with such noted artists as Barbra Streisand, Tom Jones, Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis, Jr., Eddy Arnold. Glen Campbell, Bill Cosby, Ann-Margaret, Perry Como and many more.  He moved to Los Angeles, California in 1972 and joined Willie Bobo's band for one year while maintaining his own trio.  In 1973, he became the musical director for Carmen McRae.  The other musicians' in the group were Monty Budwig on bass and Donald Bailey on drums. They toured throughout Japan and Europe.  The following year, he assisted Sammy Cahn with "Words and Music which premiered to strong review at the Huntington Hartford Theatre.  During this decade he performed with Bette Midler, Lani Hall and Louie Bellson.

In the early eighties, Collett continued his alliance with bassist Monty Budwig. Together they had a musical and personal rapport that would last for twenty-five years.  During the early part of 1983, Shelley Manne was forming a new trio and upon Monty's strong recommendation, Collett was asked to be the third member of the trio.  Collett wrote many of the arrangements and original material for the trio.  After the passing of Shelley Manne shortly thereafter, Collett reteamed with long time friend, Sarah Vaughan. He also co-wrote the theme song to the hit TV show "That's Incredible." He has composed, arranged and appeared on numerous other recordings with artists such as Keely Smith, Andy Simpkins, Guido Basso, Zoot Sims, Dianne Reeves and Sandra Booker.

Recordings:
The Long Way Home (1985); Coney Island (1987); Postcard from Bill, A Tribute to Bill Evans (1994); Moments Notice (1994); Perfectly Frank (1997); Sarah Vaughan City of Lights (1999)

As sideperson:
Perry Como: It's Impossible (1970), Live at the International Ballroom; Carmen McRae: I Am Music (1973); Louie Bellson: Sidetrack (1979), Dynamite (1979); Terry Gibbs and Buddy DeFranco: Jazz Party Live (1981), Aire Mail Special (1981); Shelley Manne: Live in Zurich (1984), Remember (1985); Keely Smith: I'm In Love Again (1985); Sam Most: Anytime, Any Season (1986); Guido Basso: Guido Basso (1986); Andy Simpkins: Calamba (1989), Coming At Ya (1998); Herb Alpert: Midnight Sun (1992); Dianne Reeves: Art & Survival (1994); Sandra Booker: Very Early (1994); Yoshiaki Miyanoues: L.A. Connection (1997); Keely Smith Keely Sings Sinatra (1997), Keely Sings Basie with Strings (2002)

Television and films:
That's The Way It Is (Elvis Presley); The Steve Allen Show; The Sammy Davis Jr. Show (with Carmen McRae); Name That Tune (with Carmen McRae); Project Visions; Bonnie and Leroy -A Documentary; The Mike Douglas Show (with Lani Hall); The Bill Kennedy Show; Shaft; Something Nice (with Terry Gibbs and Buddy DeFranco); Muscular Dystrophy Telethon (Jerry Lewis); The Tonight Show (with Herb Alpert); Father of the Bride; Mad TV

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