Tim Collins likes to mix it up. It starts at home; the vibraphonist is married to a successful concert violinist and is intimately connected to the world of classical music. Recording with pianist Matthias Bublath, Collins has also worked with guitarist Charlie Hunter, who produced his second album, mixing rock, jazz, and string quartets. He seeks melodies and inspiration without regard to genre, covering songs by artists a disparate as Tom Petty and Björk on Castles and Hilltops (Nineteen-Eight Records, 2011), his most recent recording.
In the two short years since he's resettled in Munich from New York, after a short stay in Salzburg, Collins has learned German, landed teaching jobs at the Bavarian International School and the New Jazz School of Munich, released Castles and Hilltops, and taken his place alongside Matthias Bublath, Martin Scales, Ulrich Wangenheim, Tom Reinbrecht, and Christoph Holzhauser as a driving force on the Munich jazz scene.
As seems to be the case with many vibraphonists, he started out on drums and piano before taking up marimba and vibes. Thanks in part to the physicality of the instrument, he's a dazzling soloist on stage with a fiery impassioned energy and a soulful inclination that would also work well in rock, soul, blues, and jam settings. At the same time, his considerable musical training and ample skills, in classical music and jazz, give him the ability to handle the intricacy and harmonics of very demanding music. This openness and solid musical foundation are also evident in his engaging compositions.
Living & Working in Europe
All About Jazz: When people you meet in Europe hear you are from New York, they probably envision NYC. But in reality, you grew up near Lake Champlain on the border to Vermont, and relatively close to Montreal. Aside from language differences and cruising along the Autobahn at 110 mph, how would you characterize the adjustment of living in Bavaria or Salzburg?
Tim Collins: Hmmm, well let me say that moving to Salzburg was definitely an adjustment, but then moving to Munich afterwards seemed like an adjustment back in the direction of what I was used to. Once you get past the language difference, to me Munich actually feels a lot like the U.S. Nowadays, it's easy to call overseas with Skype and stuff, and it's not too hard for me to bring my American habits with me—like watching Yankees games for example—the only problem is that they are on at 1:00am, German time. Ugh.