Basic Background Info

Birth: July 9, 1934
Location: San Francisco, California
Band: Australian Jazz Quartet, Vince Guaraldi Trio, Terry Gibbs' Six Piece Band, Alto Madness
Genres: Jazz
Instruments: Drums
Occupation: Musician, Teacher


Colin Bailey began playing drums at four and studied piano theory. Born in Swindon, England, he moved to Australia in the late 1950s, where he got a job as a staff drummer for TV Channel 9 in Sydney, where he accompanied jazz luminaries Dizzy Gillespie and Sarah Vaughan.

While opening for the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Colin Bailey met one of his music heroes, Joe Morello. Seeing Morello perform inspired Colin Bailey to pursue a greater level of skill with the drums, working and practicing with Morello in the early morning hours for the two weeks Morello was in Australia.

The Australian Jazz Quartet immigrated to the United States in 1961 and Colin Bailey joined them. Colin Bailey left the Australian Jazz Quartet six weeks after arriving in the States to join the Vince Guaraldi Trio, with whom he played in such renowned San Francisco clubs as Trident in Sausalito, The Blackhawk, and Jazz Workshop. In 1962 The Vince Guaraldi Trio recorded Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus. The record was a success and brought Colin Bailey to the attention of Victor Feldman, who invited him down to Los Angeles to join the Victor Feldman Trio. Working with Feldman also brought Colin Bailey to the attention of many other Los Angeles artists, many of whom he recorded with, including Clare Fischer, Joe Pass, Victor Feldman, Joe Williams, Benny Goodman, Ray Brown, Tommy Flanagan, Terry Gibbs, Buddy De Franco, Herb Ellis, Joao Gilberto, Peggy Lee, Tony Bennett, Dave Grusin, Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Clare Fischer, and Blossom Dearie.

Colin Bailey then relocated to the growing music scene in Dallas, Texas, where he accepted the position of drum teacher at North Texas State University. He taught there for two years, starting in 1982. Simultaneously he played weekends with Red Garland at various clubs, while he toured in Japan, Europe, and the U.S., with Richie Cole’s group Alto Madness.

The busy schedule wore on Colin Bailey, and he quit the teaching job and returned to San Francisco in 1985. He continued recording and performing, but with greater focus on his drum workshops, manuals, and teaching at the Jazz school in Berkeley.


Album Year Album Name Album Band
1962 Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus Vince Guaraldi
1964 For Django Joe Pass
1665 A Charlie Brown Christmas Vince Guaraldi
1665 A Boy Named Charlie Brown Vince Guaraldi
1967 Francis Alber Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim Sinatra & Jobim
1977 The Artful Dodger: Jazz Piano Victor Feldman
1990 I'm Glad There Is You Jimmy Rowles
2003 Secret Garden Dick Hindman Trio
2005 Hurrican Watch Jeff Feldstein
2007 Encounter Near Venus Shelly Manne


  • Colin played with the Miles Davis Quintet twice before their sixteen-year-old drummer, Tony, could sneak into clubs.

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Drum Workshop
Cymbals: Sabian
Hardware: Drum Workshop
Heads: Remo
Sticks: Vic Firth

Pics & Clips