Road Warrior (Ubuntu Music)

Quentin Collins Sextet

Released September 13, 2019

Jazzwise Top 10 Releases of 2019




As one of the hardest working and in-demand internationally renowned jazz trumpet players, Collins has formed an all-star band which is a progression of his quintet with alto sax ace, Tom Harrison, which gave birth to the Quentin Collins Sextet.

Collins’ overarching ambition was to record an album, consisting of original material, with the joint collaboration of a select US-based rhythm section and an established UK-based horn section. The end result is a collection of straight-ahead contemporary bop, composed equally by Collins and Harrison.

As a background, Collins met in-demand US pianist Dan Nimmer (Wynton Marsalis) while touring with Kyle Eastwood, a band Collins has been a regular with for years. Collins was so impressed with Nimmer’s playing that he invited him to be a part of the new project. Nimmer graciously accepted the offer, and suggested that the incredible drummer, Willie Jones III from New York City, joined the line-up. In addition, one of Nimmer’s close friends from high school, NY bassist Joe Sanders, rounded out this most impressive roster.

Collins further decided to stretch the front line with young tenor sax sensation, Leo Richardson, whose debut album Quentin produced on the Ubuntu Music record label. By chance, Tom Harrison also went to music college with Richardson, which made the ensemble that much more synchronistic. Meilana Gillard (who was drafted in to play alto on four days’ notice, when injury left Tom Harrison unable to make the recording) completes the line-up.

Harrison asked the iconic Jazz Messenger’s legend, sax titan Jean Toussaint, to join the project in performing on two tracks and to produce the album. Collins, by contrast, asked the multi-talented composer/arranger/musician Troy Miller (Laura Mvula) to mix the album.

As Collins explains, “This music has been a personal journey of self-discovery. It is also a significant collaboration with my great friend, Tom Harrison. Each of our compositions represents a journey–be it spiritual or physical–and all the great wisdom gained along the way. I hope the love that went into the composing and recording process for ‘Road Warrior’ will be equally embraced by all who listen.”

Regarding his relationship with Ubuntu Music, Collins elaborates, “Releasing Road Warrior on Ubuntu is, for me, the perfect next step in my journey with the Label. Having been Artistic Director for its first three years, I know intimately how much care, attention and love Martin Hummel puts into each project. This comes from a deep and long-standing appreciation for music and music makers and makes working together on this album a real joy and thrill.” Martin Hummel, Director of Ubuntu Music, sums up the project, saying, “Quentin and I have shared a special relationship, as friends and as business partners with a deep mutual respect for the other. I started the Label with Quentin, and Ubuntu’s second release featured Quentin and Brandon Allen in a terrific album. It gives me great joy to extend the relationship further with ‘Road Warrior’, an absolute killer of an album created by Quentin and another good friend, Tom Harrison. This is a must-hear album that brings Quentin to a new level in his career that is much anticipated and long overdue.”

Track Listing:

1. Road Warrior 7:17

2. Float, Flitter, Flutter 6:05

3. Do You Know the Way? 5:30

4. Look Ahead (What Do You See?) 5:46

5. Jasmine Breeze 5:05

6. The Hill 6:22

7. El Farolito 5:56

8. Wider Horizons 7:45

9. Oh! Look At Me Now 5:09


Quentin Collins: trumpet, flugelhorn

Meilana Gillard: alto saxophone

Leo Richardson: tenor saxophone

Dan Nimmer: piano, Fender Rhodes (4)

Joe Sanders: acoustic bass

Willie Jones III: drums

Special Guest

Jean Toussaint: tenor saxophone (5, 7)

Recorded October 30-31, 2018

Produced by: Jean Toussaint

Mixed by: Troy Miller


Trumpeter Collins assembled a spectacular line-up for this very impressive album, balancing an all-American rhythm section with a strong UK frontline. Many of the pieces are his; others are by saxophonist Tom Harrison, a frequent associate who was unable to make the session, Gillard being his replacement. The mood is post-bop, with an augmented Messengers feel, the writing compact and the execution consistently rewarding. The title-track would fit the Silver-Blakey template exactly and has their kind of momentum, trumpet at the front, crisp and clear, before the impressive Richardson pushes in and Nimmer opens up, bassist Sanders swinging hard. Harrison’s ‘Float, Flitter, Flutter’ allows Collins to show his Hubbard-like inclinations and Gillard to solo affectingly, the hauntingly, hymn-like ‘Look Ahead’ written by Collins for his son quite sublime. Producer Toussaint adds his sinuous tenor to two tracks. Each piece has its own pleasures: above all, there’s a sense of a fine project properly realised and accomplished.

Peter Vacher (Jazzwise)