Born in Swindon, England on July 9th 1934, Colin Bailey began playing drums at age four. He also studied piano and theory at an early age, and worked with English name bands from age eighteen. Colin lived in Australia in the late fifties and was staff drummer at T.V. Channel 9 in Sydney. There he accompanied distinguished visiting jazz artists such as Dizzy Gillespie and Sarah Vaughan. In 1960, Colin met the biggest influence in his life as a drummer. Joe Morello came to Australia on a tour with the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Colin was in the group that was opening for Brubeck. He says “I had heard Joe play on a record. I knew he had tremendous chops, but when I saw and heard him play in person, I just had to have that technique. For two weeks, as soon as Joe woke up every day, there I was with the practise pad. He was so gracious, showing me the George Lawrence Stone finger control technique. It changed my life. I put in many hours every day trying to get it down, (I am still practising mastering it!) and it made a big difference in my playing. I had a lot more control with volume, and could play quietly with intensity, something that is tough for a lot of drummers. Joe and I have been the best of friends ever since.
Cast Your Fate to the WindIn 1961, Colin emigrated to the U.S.A. as a member of the Australian Jazz Quartet. Six weeks later he joined the Vince Guaraldi Trio, and played clubs in San Francisco, including several months at the Trident in Sausalito, and other well known clubs such as The Blackhawk and Jazz Workshop. During this period, the trio played with such jazz greats as Ben Webster, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Gene Ammons. In February of 1962, the record Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus was made, featuring the tune “Cast your fate to the Wind” which was Vince’s composition. It became a huge No.1 best seller. This record played a big part in Colin's life. In January of 1963, he got a call from Victor Feldman who asked if he would be interested in going to Los Angeles to play a steady gig with his trio. Victor had heard the record and wanted Colin to be a member of his group. He moved to L.A. The exposure of playing with Victor was tremendous. Local and visiting musicians would come into the club on Sunset Boulevard called The Scene to hear the trio play. It wasn’t long before Colin got a call from Dick Bock, the owner of World Pacific Jazz record label, to play on a single track with Clare Fischer, with Albert Stinson on bass. Dick said the reason he hired Colin was because he heard “Cast Your Fate.” That session became a whole record because Dick liked the way the trio played together. It was titled Surging Ahead and got 5 stars in Down Beat. That session led to another important connection in Colin’s career. Joe Pass had recently signed with World Pacific Jazz records. Using the same personnel (Clare, Albert and Colin) the album Catch Me was recorded. This was the start of a life long friendship between Colin & Joe. Over the next 32 years they worked on many recordings, T.V. shows, and jazz gigs together. That same kind of friendship happened with The Victor Feldman Trio's Victor and Monty Budwig (the great bass player) and Colin.