'Scratches' a Top Twenty Re-issue of the Year in Jazzwise...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!
News Archive by spanking your mouse here!
Buy the Billy Blues
2 x CD plus live
in concert DVD only £19.99 (inc. p+p)!
The Billy Jenkins Calling Card Collection
A collectable 3
John Cumming 1948-2020
Very hard to get one's head round the fact that John Cumming, one of Billy's (many) favourite promoters, died a while back in May.
It would not be far from the truth to say that John was one of the mover
and shakers that ensured, over the last few decades, that jazz and
improvised music had a stage to perform on in the UK. He promoted not
only many national musicians but the cream of the worldwide jazz (and
much more) music scene.
Despite an attempt to 'send in the jazz police' to 'arrest' John in
about 1990 - when the guitarist gate crashed into what was then
his organisation's office in Soho with his young twin daughters dressed
in full police officer fancy dress, John always ensured that, if Billy
approached him with a project, he'd find a suitable slot, over many
years, on one of his festivals - be it the Bracknell Jazz Festival (x2)
Crawley Outside In (x4), Camden Jazz Festival (x2) and The Purcell Room
on the South Bank - where he promoted was has been been, to date,
Billy's last public music performance with the BBC Big Band in 2010.
There are many deserved obituaries and memories online - especially from life long friend and fellow promoter Ros Rigby (Londonjazznews), Richard Williams (The Guardian) and John Fordham (jazzwise).
Billy sends his heartfelt thoughts and thanks to Ginnie and daughter Katie.
We at billy.com are grateful, in this time of Corona Virus, to Beowulf Mayfield - for not only reminding Mr Jenkins that, in 1994, he recorded a short solo guitar piece entitled 'Washing Hands' (which was released in 2014 on'The
Semi-Detached Suburban Home (Music for
Low Strung Guitar)', but we are also flattered that he's created another one of his touching videos, which you can enjoy here.
This time he enjoys another cup of tea at Equator Studios, as musician, engineer and producer Charlie Hart talks to Wulfie about the transition from playing with the guitarist to engineering and producing his music.
Episode 3/Series 4 of the Billy Jenkins Listening Club finds presenter Beowulf Mayfieldrecalling the day he spent in 1994 listening and watching Billy recording one of his masterpieces - the 'East/West' album, featuring the Fun Horns of Berlin.
Whilst enjoying this 12 minute 'snap-pod-web-cast' episodehere, cast your eyes on the Billy Webzine page - which has a fascinating 1996 interview with the guitarist about the project.
Martin France photographed by Beowulf Mayfield in 2019.
The ongoing (but occasional) Billy Jenkins Listening Club, the 'audio-autobiographical pod-snap-webcast,' has now launched Series Four online.
Enjoy in this first episode, by clicking on the image or here, an eight minute discourse as presenter Beowulf 'Wulfie' Mayfieldand the guitarist discuss the precise number of miles one of Billy's wonderful drummers Martin France actually did drive in 1993....
The guitar albums were created with a focus on frequency and pitch. Now,
the composer takes to the piano to address changes in the listening
habits multi-use technologies have inflicted on our ever evolving modern world.
It was created as a music for background listening, but it comes towards you, the ear drawing in, becoming mid- field music.
And then, as one starts to appreciate the overtones, ambient noises and
piano mechanics, it ends up as near- field music. Music that will haunt you.
For after several plays, you will start imaging you’re hearing it in the background.
But it’s not playing....
Imbibe Beowulf Mayfield's evocative 90 second promotional video here:
'Ghost Music' is available from most
popular download and streaming sites and by purchasing, you'll be
helping Billy to continue his life's work.
BBC Music Jazz Radio
'Greatest Ever Jazz Albums' Puts Billy At
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
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
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
Just what did
the guitarist do to get chased out
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
And much, much
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!
new recently released download album
highlights the marginalisation of
musicians in this technological age.
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
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.’
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:
- 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
- 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).
– 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.
sound – it has been said that
‘analogue recording approximates
perfection. Whereas digital recording
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’.
as social and economic lifestyles evolve
at high speed, how does the musician
reinstate their art?
Jenkins, it means bringing out an
unreleased album he recorded nearly twenty
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
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
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
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.
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
with it, musicians’ livelihoods and
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.
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.
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.....
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...'
teased lots of little 'out of this world'
thoughts from Mr J. in his secret garden
and there are four short clips posted on
Browny Meets Billy Jenkins
When Did You Leave Heaven?
On White Van Man
is 'one man’s quest for the ultimate
waste of time…because wasting time is
not the same thing as time
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.
music, sport, fast cars, bikes and
technology. They also like poker, great
days out, flying and much more. And the
music of Billy Jenkins......
Jenkins can be heard partaking in 'lively
and diverse conversation on the
flagship BBC R4 'Midweek'
radio programmewith Libby
Purves and other guests writer and
naturalist Sir John Lister Kaye,
fashion designer Caroline Charles
and former Masterchef winner Thomasina
live discussion, with Billy talking about
his music and conducting Humanist funerals
took place on Wednesday 24th February2010 and can still be listened to
and enjoyed by spanking this 'Midweek'