One of the most widely respected jazz guitarists, and easily the best-known to ever come out of the Cincinnati area, was Cal Collins. Born on May 5, 1933, in Medora, IN, Collins began his career by playing bluegrass mandolin, eventually relocated to Cincinnati (once he'd completed serving in the Army), and shortly thereafter switched to the six-string after hearing landmark recordings by such jazz guitar greats as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian. From the '50s through the '70s, Collins played regularly and was brought on board in 1976 to become Benny Goodman's guitarist.

Around this time, Collins issued several acclaimed solo recordings on the Concord label, including such titles as Cincinnati to L.A., In San Francisco, Blues on my Mind, By Myself, Interplay, and Cross Country (and in 1979, was honored by Cincinnati with a Post-Corbett Award). In 1993, he appeared as part of the Masters of the Steel String Guitar tour, playing alongside such notables as Doc Watson, bluegrass Dobro player Jerry Douglas, and the blues duo of Cephas & Wiggins, and five years later, issued what would be his final recording, S'Us Four. On August 27, 2001, Collins passed away at the age of 68 in Dillboro, IN, due to liver failure. ~ Greg Prato, All Music Guide