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Billy Jenkins

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RECENT NEWS!!.....

'I'm Staying In the Car!'


OLDER NEWS!!..........

That String Thing.....?!
John Jack

Salah Dawson Miller

'Scratches of Spain' Reissued As a Download!

TIMELESS NEWS!!........

You Too Can Play Billy!
BBC Music Jazz Radio 'Greatest Ever Jazz Albums' Puts Billy At #36!

In Depth All About Jazz Analysis!
The Billy Jenkins Webzine
The War Of Jenkins’ Ear(phones)!
The 'Financial Times' Lauds Billy!

On Another Planet!
Hear Billy Live On BBC R4!

NEWS ARCHIVE!!........

Billy Takes Over BBC R3.....Music Sn-Apps Emerge.....Vortex Jazz Club Celebrate Billy.......London Jazz News Features Billy....Humanism, Blues & Bereavement....'Violent Lewisham' Confuses Billy...One Step On  from the Blues....Austerity Aural Art.....Jenkins Hanging Round Pub Toilets.....Billy with Ginger Baker CD emerges.. ..and much more!

Access the News Archive by spanking your mouse here!

 



Buy the Billy Blues Bonanza Bundle!

Blues Bonanza

2 x CD plus live in concert DVD only £19.99 (inc. p+p)!



The Billy Jenkins

Calling Card Collection

Billy Jenkins Calling Card
                                Collection

 A collectable 3 CD series!!








'I'm Staying In the Car!'

Billy staying in the car


In the latest Listening Club episode, snap cast meister Beowulf 'Wulflie' Mayfield quizzes Billy on the background to the four stanzas that make up 'I'm Staying In The Car'!

And while you're on the Listening Club page, enjoy the short stop animation video that Mr Mayfield created for the same song!

Meanwhile, enjoy reading many of Billy's blues lyrics here!

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That String Thing.....?

Billy in bed
Beowulf Mayfield catches Billy in bed with Bot....

They say he's a jazz guitarist, they say he's a blues guitarist and a composer who brings many 20th Century popular musical styles into his work.....

But why does he sometimes incorporate classical string instruments into his 'aural art' instrumental pieces?

In his latest Listening Club snap cast, Beowulf 'Wulfie' Mayfield has a sleepover with the musician. Only problem is, the musicians is rather tired and would prefer a bit of shut eye....

Enjoy 5'34" of Those Scary Strings here!

And explore more about Beowulf's photographic, writing and podcast work here.


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John Jack

John Jack
John Jack. Timeless.....


More sad news as we report the passing of a man Billy considered the 'King of British Jazz' - John Jack.

A mover, shaker, record label owner, promoter, distributor, tireless supporter for so many jazz and improvising musicians for over half a century, John diligently distributed Billy's vinyl recordings through his Cadillac Records for about twenty five years.

When John and his wife Shirley came to a Billy gig (which he often did), the guitarist truly felt he was being in the presence of UK Jazz Royalty and honoured with John's knowledge, wisdom and very presence.
 
You can read more about John's amazing jazz life in a 2007 interview he gave to Tim Wall for his excellent Wall of Sound blog here.

Wonderful words by pianist Mike Westbrook on the essential London Jazz News. site.

Some words and comments from Oliver Weindling at The Vortex here.

John Fordham writes, as ever, a beautifully informed obituary for The Guardian.

And, finally, words from Matthew Wright for Jazzwise - which do indeed describe John's touching final moment......


~
Thank you, John.

It was a great honour to know you.

Billy




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Salah Dawson Miller


Dawson Miller
Dawson. Skin and bone now silent....


Sad news reaches billy.com that hand percussionist Salah Dawson Miller has quietly slipped away.

A somewhat timeless character, he was very much in time both rhythmically and melodically on some of the key VOGC albums of the 1980's.


His hands shaped and caressed the ensemble sound
from the first 1981 VOGC album 'Sounds Like Bromley', through to 'Greenwich', 'Uncommerciality Vol 1', 'Scratches of Spain' and 'Motorway At Night', amongst others.

~

He had an enduring ability to rationalise potentially fraught musical situations:
“So I was working with this systems band and the time signatures of the music sort of varied between 7/8, 6/4, 13/8, 64/4, 9/8, 72/16....”
                 "So, Dawson, how did you play it...?”
  
            “Easy! Just counted in ‘ones’....!”


~

One example of Dawson's magic can be heard at the end of ‘Brilliant’ on  'Uncommerciality Vol 1'.

He was overdubbing the hand drum, but in his frenzied intensity his headphones fell off - yet his spirit guided him perfectly home.
   
Except when he got there, he didn’t know where to stop. But it sounded so good it was only fitting that his skin and bones should have the final discourse on the subject matter......


~
Dawson,

Thank you for sharing your life and your musical magic with us.


Billy

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'Scratches of Spain' Reissued As a Download!


Scratches of Spain cover


Some call this Jenkins' classic recording.

From the micky-take Miles cover spoof to the pathetic trumpet playing of Skid Solo over such gems as 'Benidorm Motorway Services', 'McDonald's, 'Cuttlefish' and 'Cooking Oil' - it would be hard to disagree. Billy does. But then he would.....

Release on 9th June 2017
worldwide on download only, this 30th anniversary re-release has been skilfully re-mastered by Andy le Vien at RMS directly from  'direct metal master cut' virgin vinyl.

Featuring wonderful musicians like Iain Ballamy. Django Bates, Dave Jago, Ashley Slater, Roy Dodds, Steve Argüelles and many more, the album documents a week long tour of Spain the guitarist undertook whilst playing with drummer Ginger Baker in 1981.

Writer 
Hans-Jürgen Schaal recently wrote a brilliant analysis in the German Fidelity magazine between this album and the original 1959 Miles Davis album, 'Sketches of Spain' . You can read it here. (use Google Translate on the top left of the page if needed).

Watch and listen out for a forthcoming Beowulf 'Wulfie' Mayfield 'Scratches of Spain' snap-cast and Music Sn-Apps too!

As Jenkins is slowly dragged screaming into this digital age, we at bj.com are delighted to announce that you can purchase 'Scratches of Spain' on Billy's brand new very own BANDCAMP site. By doing so, you will be helping him to continue his life's work.

Spank this icon NOW!!

bandcamp

'Oh Si!' (as they say in Spanish.....).

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You Too Can Play Billy!


Brilliant music


If you are a bandleader, a music teacher, run a jazz band workshop or lead a music ensemble – why not consider playing the music of Billy Jenkins!?

Find out more here !

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BBC Music Jazz Radio 'Greatest Ever Jazz Albums' Puts Billy At #36!!


BBC Music Jazz Top 50 albums


As part of the 2016 EFG London Jazz Festival, the BBC and Jazz FM ran a five day pop up 24 hour digital radio station.

Four programmes were dedicated to The 50 Greatest Jazz Albums, as nominated by the jazz community - including BBC and Jazz FM presenters, jazz musicians, critics and journalists.

And, in amongst jazz legends like Benny Goodman, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and many other 'greats' - up popped Mr Jenkins and his 1998 release 'True Love Collection'!

Listed as the 36th Best Ever Jazz Album!!!

A fitting tribute to all the brilliant musicians that contributed to the
'True Love Collection'!

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In
Depth All About Jazz Analysis!




An excellent overview on Billy's recorded work is now online at allaboutjazz.com.

Comprehensively penned by that most astute writer Roger Farbey, the 1,500 word article pretty much covers the guitarist's recorded output over the last thirty six years.

Spank that link now to enjoy Mr Farbey's excellent writing!

And then perhaps add a pithy comment!

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The Billy Jenkins Webzine




With 2016 being Billy's 60th year, we at billy.com had some fun sprucing up Ian Bolton's beautifully built 'digital cavern of curios and Billy-ness'!

Music activist, promoter and writer Ian started the Webzine towards the end of the last century.

Although it's been pretty much a locked site for several years, this impressive labour of love contains a treasure trove of Billy-ness - all created to increase your enjoyment and understanding of his work over the last four decades and counting....

  • Find out just how many musicians Billy has been compared to....
  • Just what did the guitarist do to get chased out of Bilbao...?
  • Enjoy thoughtful and learned essays on Billy's work by musician Richard Russell...
  • Pick apart epic verbatim interviews by respected anthropologist Matthew Engelke and painter Maxwell Jay and others...
  • Read public Vox Pop response to some of Billy's artistic rants.....
  • And much, much more!

An 'old school' web page layout and deliberately designed as a 'get lost in' site,
there is now a page looking at the sixteen years of Big Fights!

Punch your mouse now!

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The War Of Jenkins’ Ear(phones)!
 

Billy Jenkins War of Jenkins Ear
Ear today, gone tomorrow....? © Steve Morrison
 

A new recently released download album highlights the marginalisation of musicians in this technological age.

The nuances composers and tunesmiths bring to their art is rendered impotent by digital sound which is more often these days relayed through narrow audio range earphones.

‘To truly appreciate the power of music’, says 57 year old guitarist and composer Billy Jenkins, ‘it has to be a whole body experience. It needs air to breathe. Headphones offer no more than reference – much like a post card of an oil painting.’

Jenkins, over the last thirty years, has written his critically acclaimed gloriously idiosyncratic jazz and blues tinged music especially for the sound carrying medium.

Certain things recorded music lovers may not know:

Vinyl  - did you know that there is less bass frequency as the groove nears the centre of the disc? On his 1988 vinyl album ‘Motorway At Night’ he actually incorporated ‘surface noise at motorway exit’, by widening the groove during the disc mastering). 

Cassette - was the consumer ever aware that no tape machine ran at exactly the same speed? Jenkins underlined his introduction to the 1993 première at the National Sound Archives of his ‘Actual Reality - Music For Two Cassette Machines’ by stating that ‘no playback is ever the same’ – he had composed it building in a plus or minus 10% speed and pitch variation).

CD – the wider than vinyl frequency range has meant that two many albums mastered for CD have been mastered at such a volume, the compression necessary to iron out highs and lows reduces the emotional resonance. Mr Jenkins’ many CD releases have minimal compression.

Digital sound – it has been said that ‘analogue recording approximates perfection. Whereas digital recording perfects approximation’.

Digital processing - arbitrarily ‘takes’ what it wants of the sound source. Music made wholly by machines works well in the digital domain. But when it comes to music where every single note comes from the heart, hand and ear of the player – chip technology just doesn’t ‘get it’.

So, as social and economic lifestyles evolve at high speed, how does the musician reinstate their art?

For Jenkins, it means bringing out an unreleased album he recorded nearly twenty years ago.

These days, after a lifetime on and off the road and in and out of the recording studio, leaving him with an intense dislike of travel and a sensitivity to noise, he now scratches a living creating and conducting humanist funerals (‘nothing’s changed really’, the guitarist notes dryly, ‘I stand up in front of folks and they all start crying..’).

Uneasy with the sound of digital download, Jenkins feels that the album ‘The Semi-Detached  Suburban Home – Music For Low Strung Guitar’ (VOTP Records) is actually one that works on tinny headphones.

Captured in close microphone by long time Jenkins producer and engineer Tony Messenger, listening to it, one becomes the musician – every nuance can be heard - wire, wood, skin, nail and breath – all thrown into silence to create invisible audio images of everyday household objects and events.

‘We, the music creators, need to make folks understand, ‘states Jenkins, ‘that trendy coloured headphones are just fashion accessories. 
And by using them, especially when out in public, you are not only tempering the wonder of the world around you, but also consigning the wonder of music and musicians to history. 
And just like Neil Young and many other musicians have stated, I too agree that Apple, who led the digital revolution with their iPod, stand guilty of helping to destroy the spirituality of music. 
And with it, musicians’ livelihoods and purpose’.
 

Semi-Detached House CD

TheSemi-detached Suburban Home
(Music for Low Strung Guitar)

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The 'Financial Times' Lauds Billy!
 

Billy Jenkins Lewisham Clock Tower
In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion roars 
tonight...                                 ©Steve Morrison
 

We have no shame in continuing to flag up an article about Mr Jenkins and his work which appeared in the prestigious Financial Times in November 2010.

Written with depth, great sensitivity and understanding by fellow musician and writer Mike Hobart, it is very flattering that Billy was chosen as one of only two artists to be previewed for the London Jazz Festival - the other musician was jazz legend Herbie Hancock.

It is delightfully ironic that a man for whom commerce, marketing and business remain 'black arts' should be worthy of such microscopic attention by one of the world's leading financial newspapers.....

You can enjoy Mr Hobart's writing here.

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On Another Planet!

Billy Jenkins Planet Browny
Three rakes...

Mr Jenkins is currently in the habit of apologising to to interested live promoters saying that he is 'unable to accept your kind offer as I am fully focused on a distant journey to Planet Recording, Planet Marketing and Planet Conducting Humanist Funerals...'

So how come he's landed on the Youtube Planetbrowny page? 

Browny teased lots of little 'out of this world' thoughts from Mr J. in his secret garden and there are four short clips posted on YouTube.:

1. Browny Meets Billy Jenkins
2. When Did You Leave Heaven?
3. On White Van Man
4. On Composing

Billy Jenkins with Planet Browny
Two tools...

Planetbrowny is 'one man’s quest for the ultimate waste of time…because wasting time is not the same thing as time wasted'.

The site is dedicated to "how we all waste time or what we do when we’re not ‘working’."  Created by a group of like minded middle-aged men, Planetbrowny aims to be a place where they can have everything they want under one roof.

They like music, sport, fast cars, bikes and technology. They also like poker, great days out, flying and much more. And the music of Billy Jenkins...... 

Spank that Planetbrowny.com link now!
 

Sadly, Brownie left this planet all too suddenly in September 2012. The website remains as a loving tribute to the man.

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Hear Billy Live On BBC R4!
 

BBC Radio York Billy Jenkins
'I'll try and do 'morning nice...!' 
©Mary Thackray
 

Call the Polite Police! 

Mr Jenkins can be heard partaking in 'lively and diverse conversation on the flagship  BBC R4 'Midweek' radio programme with Libby Purves and other guests writer and naturalist Sir John Lister Kaye, fashion designer Caroline Charles and former Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers.

The live discussion, with Billy talking about his music and conducting Humanist funerals took place on Wednesday 24th February 2010 and can still be listened to and enjoyed by spanking this 'Midweek' link!

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