What I love about this jazz CD, and live concerts in general, is the space given to the musicians and the spontaniety of the performances; there are no second takes. Ramona has a soulful jazz voice, and when she lets loose, what a powerhouse. She is respectful of her musicians and you sense the love. She has an easy, relaxed manner with her audience. Her Clinton intro to "Don't Explain" was hilarious, and rather touching. Some of the covers, I have heard many times, but she makes them sound fresh and stamps them with her own personality. I am glad I stumbled upon this singer (thank you CD baby for giving us a way to discover talented independent artists). If you love jazz, and want to hear a singer who does it up right, look no further.
Ramona Collins: What They Say
Everything Old Is New Again: There's nothing fancy or outrageous here, just a solid, professional live jazz performance by a seasoned group. Ramona Collins has a strong, satiny voice with a lot of blues and soul seasoning and a very hip sense of time.
Review of performance at Juneteenth Celebration, Toledo Museum of Art - 6/21/2008.
The rain still showed no sign of ending, when Ramona Collins took the stage at five o’clock backed up by a jazz trio, including Toledo’s own pianist Michael Lorenz, that she should take on the road with her.
Singing as only she can, Collins played her vocal chords deftly, making listeners forget the rain, the wind and the chill that had crept into the air. It was just Ramona, that voice, three finely tuned and expertly instruments and the audience.
Singing “Night and Day” her way, Collins created a new definition of sound and everyone that was there to witness it felt honored. Her voice pushed back the sheets of rain falling from a gray sky until listeners could imagine sunlight shining clearly and eternally overhead.
Her one-hour set wasn’t the finale, but it probably should have been because what could top that voice, that sound, the imagery she concocted with a trill?
Top talent wows crowd at Idlewild Jazz Fest
IDLEWILD – The sun had just begun to set on the 2007 Idlewild Festival when headliner Ramona Collins came to the stage. Across from the boat landing a family had a campfire burning as they sat out listening to the final act of the day. A pair of boats hovered off shore to catch the strains as they came over the water. The Toledo-based vocalist, ably accompanied by the Kris Johnson Music Ensemble, immediately established an intimate rapport with the crowd as she left the stage and took the show directly to them. Collins noted that at one time she was a regular at the Sounds from the Forest concert series, in Baldwin, and that she recognized friends from those days.
In addition to a commanding stage presence, one that combines humor with heartfelt comment, Collins has a terrific voice and she demonstrated time and again why she got the nod for the closing of the one-day jazz extravaganza as she performed classics like “Watermelon Man” and “Body and Soul,” which she sang as an upbeat piece rather than a lament. For her encore, Collins did one of her own pieces.
A pleasure to listen to and great to see Ramona recording CD's again. If you like jazz you'll love this. Sensational voice and being live makes you feel you are there, especially on my sound system. Make another one soon.
Monday, September 3rd
The final day’s offerings might have provided the most variety, especially if you parked yourself at the Waterfront Stage and just stayed all afternoon. Actually, I had some friends set up there as I got started over at the Pyramid Stage where Toledo-based singer Ramona Collins held forth with a snazzy performance and an accomplished backing group that included Cleveland jazz mainstay and drummer Greg Bandy. Standards like “God Bless the Child” and “Green Dolphin Street” were the fare, a tip of the hat to festival favorite Ivan Lins also provided via the inclusion of “Love Dance.” Collins knows how to belt out a tune and her effervescent personality helps make her a strong stage presence and a real treat to hear.
”Ramona Collins is a regional performer worthy of wider recognition”
"LIVE AND LOVIN' IT" Ramona Collins (RaCoSa Music)
Toledo's own Ramona Collins' new CD, recorded live in the Toledo Museum of Art's Peristyle lobby, is an irresistible joy that beats with the heart of a veteran jazz vocalist on top of her game. This despite a few technical flaws that occur when musicians record outside the near-perfect walls of a professional recording studio. Collins is backed by a stellar group of musicians and she shows great comfort, style, and class with her material. Collins even puts her own stamp on two old pop songs - Van Morrison's "Moondance" and Leon Russell's "This Masquerade.
Damn, this swings: Ramona Collins "Live & Lovin' It." Toledo native Ramona Collins shows that the old school is the gold school. This is classic jazz: swingin', hot and cool, and foot-tappin'. Her voice is in great shape, as evidenced from the first track, her take on the standard, "Days of Wine and Roses." As though that weren't enough, her band is par excellence. Eric Dickey, Martin Greenberg, Sean Dobbins, Allan Barnes and Cass Harris (who also blows the house away on a combo "Stormy Monday Blues"/"Kansas City") all shine. There's a subdued maturity that you don't find in a lot of today's jazz CDs, Collins even takes a swipe at writing her own song on "Choices," and it is a testament to her talent that the track fits in with all of the other timeless standards. The disc was recorded live at the Toledo Museum of Art, and it shows Ramona Collins the entertainer as well as the song stylist, an all-around talent. She is definitely a Toledo treasure that should be cherished. Definitely get this one.
The Women in Jazz festival had some outstanding performers! Your intrepid reporter took a nap after driving back from the big city to the south, so only caught five full sets. Toledo song stylist (that's her email name, too) Ramona Collins took the crowd by storm . . . She jumped down from the stage to interact better with the audience and had them in the palm of her hand.
" . . .The members and guests arrived at 7:00 p.m., and nobody left until the last song was sung at 10:00 p.m. The reason? The wonderful Ramona Collins. On her first visit to the West Michigan Jazz Society's fundraiser in Grand Rapids, Michigan she won the hearts (and ears) of everyone happily present. Her voice hit all the flavors from honey to hot sauce, her delivery was always captivating, and her rapport with the listeners was instant and continuous. She flirted, she told funny stories and jokes, she teased and flattered the musicians - in short, she was fun, funny and fantastic. . ."
Ramona appeared as a surprise guest with the late, great Eddie Russ at the 1995 Flint Jazz Festival and was loved instantly by the audience.
Ramona Collins, Toledo-based vocalist, has a commanding stage presence and a soulful voice. "The penetrating appeal of Ramona's performance derives in large measure of course, from her rich, nimble and evocative voice, but there's more. Her interpretations of familiar tunes convey wisdom, humor an almost ethereal goodwill that combines to create the impression of, not just a great singer, but a remarkable person sharing music and something more."