Graham Collier was born in Tynemouth, England, in 1937. On leaving school he joined the British Army as a musician, spending three years in Hong Kong. He subsequently won a Down Beat scholarship to the Berklee School of Music, Boston, studying with Herb Pomeroy and becoming its first British graduate in 1963. He was the first recipient of an Arts Council bursary for jazz, and has been commissioned by festivals, groups and broadcasters across Europe, North America, Australia and the Far East. He has produced 19 albums and CDs of his music. He has also worked in a wide range of other media: on stage plays and musicals, on documentary and fiction film, and on a variety of radio drama productions.
He is well known as an author and educator, having written seven books on jazz and given lectures and workshops around the world. In 1987 he launched the jazz degree course at London’s Royal Academy of Music and was its artistic director until resigning in 1999 to concentrate on his own music. In 1989, he was among the group of international jazz educators who formed the International Association of Schools of Jazz, whose magazine Jazz Changes, he co-edited for seven years. He was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 1987 for his services to jazz.
He now lives on a small island in Greece, where he continues to compose, write and administer his back catalogue, travelling from there to present concerts and workshops around the world.
His latest book, the jazz composer, moving music off the paper, a philosophical look at jazz and jazz composing has just been published by Northway Books, and his latest CD directing 14 Jackson Pollocks is now available on jazzcontinuum. All his recorded music is available from Amazon and by download from such companies as eMusic and iTunes.