An interesting blend of jazz/blues polish and sass is what we have here from trumpeter/vocalist Kiku Collins on her latest project, Red Light. The former Beyonce trumpet player who’s worked with the likes of Michael Bolton and Jill Scott has a style as sexy and smooth as silk and as authentic as her persona. Using great phrasing and arrangements, the music presented here–the vast majority of which was co-written by Collins–is a combination of sweet, sexy, and “come hither” sensuality (listen to “Tag Play” for a good example) and funky, enflamed groove (e.g., “Come My Way” – check out bassist Malcolm Gold’s work while you’re here). Take a walk on the blues side as the sexy lady treats us to the title track with all the sultriness expected in a song bearing that title, and check out the adeptness of pianist Xavier Davis and the magnificent guest sax work of Michael Lington. This material has body, melody, and presence. When you listen to the tenderness of Collins’ caressing trumpet and Hendrix Helmer’s guitar on the well-composed piece “Silence Thief,” you are reminded of the beautiful vastness and creativity of the world of really good jazz. The alluring track that follows, “Sea of Grapes,” with guitarist Francesco Guaiana giving Collins a helping hand, further gives evidence of that. “In the Bag” kicks it all up a notch or two in tempo and sets that other groove mode in motion. Nothing says “Let’s shake it out” like a number like this. Closing this delicacy out is “August Won,” a beautiful– though disappointingly short– track with Collins on vocals. All said, Collins arrives here with a comely project full of color and diversity. Red Light has something on which to grab hold. It doesn’t murmur; it proudly sings.” - Ronald Jackson

The Smooth Jazz Ride

I really do think you are one of the best out there on the current trumpet community. Your section playing, tone, control, and solo chops, outstanding!! (Mind you, it's not the old "female brass player" thing...)”

Eric Miyashiro

There is a contemporary sound to this music, a mixture of modern jazz trumpet, fusion and rock that all blends together surprisingly well. Ms. Collins plays trumpet and flugelhorn like a twenty-first century Miles Davis; there is a Spanish tinge to many of these improvised solos and also a touch of melancholy, similar to that which was always present in Miles's music. Flute and vibes solos are pretty much straightahead jazz contributions and the rock flavoured bass and drum punctuations are somehow quite appropriate and suitable for this music. The Messenger is essentially a slow ballad with Ms. Collins blowing moody, atmospheric trumpet and Harris shining with a mournful guitar solo. Confidential Obituary continues the dark, sad mood and offers more, intense trumpet playing... ... the result is really good music; in the contemporary manner, in terms of instrumentation and recording practices but sounding fresh and inspired all through. I would urge all enthusiasts to put aside pre-conceived notions of any kind and just listen. It is well worth the effort.” - Derek Ansell

— Jazz Journal International

Kiku is a MUSICAL trumpet player. Her phrasing, sound and lyricism remind me of great singers. For me, that is one of the best compliments that I could give to any trumpet player! I really enjoy listening to her CD and would highly recommend it to others. (Trumpet players or not.) Mike Vax” - Mike Vax
Kiku, you're not only beautiful - you're a kick ass player!” - La La Brooks

La La Brooks of the Crystals

Quick story, Saturday night, I stop by a friends house. It's late and we're eating after a night of Pre-New Years Eve celebrating(because I had to work New Years Eve :-( . There's a house full of people. My buddy turns on the TV and this "Beyonce" special is on, the Tokyo concert... I'm riveted on this trumpet player. I'm asking anyone that will listen, who's she??? She's amazingly attractive and a pretty good horn player. The credits rolled so fast, I couldn't read em :-( Tuesday night, the show aired again, so I DVR'd it. After it goes off, I roll the credits slow and there's the name. I checked out your page, good music. I'd like to hear more. Anyway, just thought I'd share that with you. Hopefully my note won't get lost in the hundreds of other e-mails and correspondents I'm sure you receive.” - Christopher
My favorite trumpet players are: Maynard Ferguson & Kiku Collins.”

— Alex, age 12 1/2

THE MESSENGER Trumpeters of the female variety in jazz are few & far between. This woman throws gender down the drain with performances like dis. Soothing on the soul on Sunday mornin,’ this ain’t no Fed Ex; it is hand delivered right to your heart (--For those too young to remember, Al 's first real taste of pop music success was with The Royal Teens, who had a Top 5 hit with the tune "Short Shorts" in 1958 and a Top 30 hit a year later with "Believe Me." Al went on to play with Bob Dylan, Blood Sweat and Tears, Jimi Hendrix... need I go on? I've never met him and am so flattered to find that he has discovered *my* music! I don't care what spaceship brought him to me, I'm utterly flattered. Thanks, Al, for the kind surprise of this review!)” - Al Kooper

Kiku Collins is the kind of musician that reminds other musicians of why they play music in the first place! She is a rock solid as both a band leader and support player!” - Blyss, Bassist
...there is a lesbian couple (nicely played by Kiku Collins and Jennie Lee Mitchell, who also double as musicians)... (Fire Island)” - DAVID KENNERLEY

Gay City News

I wanted to say thanks so much for coming to play for (the Kindergarten music) class this week. The kids loved it. They were so excited. I've been telling my other classes about your visit and we've been playing the bugle all week.”

— NYC Public School 11