JV Collier is one of the most sought after bass players of his generation. As a student of legendary Motown bassist James Jamerson, JV learned from the best. Now, after a career which has spanned more than thirty years, he continues to share his talents with some of the most recognizable artists in the music world.
Born in Dixon, Tennessee, JV moved to the Motor City with his parents as a youngster. He first discovered his love for music at the young age of 10 when he began trombone lessons at his public elementary school. Two years later while listening to a Jimi Hendrix record, JV was inspired to try the bass. He decided to formally study the bass along with continuing his trombone lessons.
By junior high school, JV had become accomplished enough on the bass that he began working the local club scene. He attended Mackenzie High School, where in band class, he struck up a friendship with James Jamerson, Jr., son of the famed bassist. James, Sr. frequently visited the class and gave lessons to the young bass players after school.
In 1972, Motown Records moved to Los Angeles taking James Jamerson along and leaving a void in the city’s recording musicians pool. Sixteen year-old JV was offered the chance to record with some of the hottest R&B artists of the day – among them: The Temptations, Earl Klugh, Freda Payne, Ron Banks and the Dramatics, Enchantment, and the Floaters and producers such as Holland-Dozier-Holland, Paul Reiser and David Van der Pit.
Soon after, a young trio of sisters called the Emotions offered JV the chance to go on tour. Next came calls from across the country, which exposed JV to not just funk and R&B but jazz, disco and pop. New York recording sessions led to work with artists such as Frankie Valli, the Brecker Brothers and Kellie Patterson, as well as producers like Bob Gaudio. Calls from Los Angeles led to work with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Ben E. King, Tyrone Davis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Alton McClain & Destiny.
In the early 80s, JV met Don Was, then a struggling songwriter in the Detroit area. When Was formed an eclectic band which would later be known as Was Not Was, he called on JV to lay the foundation for his vision. JV recorded two albums with the band and toured Europe.
In 1983, JV joined Gladys Knight & the Pips. During his ten year association, he toured the world and recorded with the legendary group. Additionally, he worked and recorded with The 5th Dimension, the Pointer Sisters, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. and Norman Connors.
In 1994, JV got a call from Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Bruce Hornsby. Hornsby invited JV to join the band, and eight years, several national tours and three albums later, their association continues. With the variation of Hornsby’s musical mix of blue grass, jazz, R&B, pop, and folk, JV has shared the stage with Bonnie Raitt, Chic Corea, Bela Fleck, George Duke, Kirk Whalum, the Band, Branford Marsalis, and has played bass duets with Victor Wooten and Christian McBride.
“Making music that’s both challenging and interesting is food for my soul,” says the considerate, professional and devoted bassist.