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Billy Jenkins

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LATEST NEWS!!.....

Navigating A Sea Of Turmoil....!
Remembering Barry Mitchell and Wing Music!
Jazzman John Clarke - Now A 'Ghost On The Road'...!
The Joy Of Two Drumkits!


RECENT NEWS!!.....

Terror On Tour....!
Going Back To Hell.....!
Ghost Music - A 'Background Only' Download Album!
Mercury Man Realigns With Billy!
Billy Back In the Recording Studio!

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!!........

'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!

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!!





Navigating A Sea Of Turmoil....!

Billy at low tide
Beowulf Mayfield captures Billy reminiscing Thameside.....

The tide goes out. And the tide comes back in....


Episode 5 of Series Three of the Billy Jenkins Listening Club snap-cast-web-cast-podcast is now online.

And ever patient presenter Beowulf Mayfield teases words out of the guitarist relating to the skills producer Pete Bennett, violinist Dylan Bates and double bassist Steve Watts contributed to the  making of the 2005 released CD album 'When the Crowds Have Gone'- described, at the time,  by The Times music critic John Bungey as, 'his darkest record yet...'.

Click here to give yourself 7' 53" seconds of reflection, dispair but ultimately, recovery. Possibly....


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Remembering Barry Mitchell and Wing Music!

Barry Mitchell and Billy
       
Barry and Billy ripped from a 1997 local newspaper article...

Episode 4 of Series Three of the
Billy Jenkins Listening Club snap-cast-web-cast-podcast is now online.

Billy hasn't appeared on a broadcast since he ran off after presenter Beowulf Mayfield's attempt at retrogressive hypnosis on the guitarist in Episode 1 (Series 3) went a bit Pete Tong.....

But we're pleased to say the guitarist is now back! But - not only has he returned as a teenager, but it seems Wulfie has regressed too....

But that doesn't stop them partaking in a heartfelt tribute to the legendary owner of Wing Music, Barry Mitchell - celebrated on the eponymous track from the 1997 CD album, 'Still...Sounds Like Bromley'.

Enjoy eight and a half minutes of foot tapping joy here!

One man who certainly enjoyed this episode, is Jim Hunt, who took the time to write to Mr Jenkins about his own time working with the late, lamented Barry:
"Absolutely brilliant!

It certainly brought a smile, a roaring laugh (jumping off the 4x12s story) and it did bring a tear or 2!

I worked at Wing for over 10 years and was very close to Barry. Hearing the way you told those stories really brought a lot of great memories flooding back.

I still think of the boss pretty much every day and miss him terribly.  I learned a hell of a lot from him in all sorts of respects.

It’s pretty much all down to him that Planet Guitar exists, if I hadn’t have done my 'apprenticeship' at Wing I certainly wouldn’t be doing the job I love and have all of the knowledge I have!

I loved the way you mention Barry (towards the end of the podcast) standing with a cup of tea in one hand, cigarette in the other and a big smile on his face. That resonated in a big way and I could actually see that image in my head. I had the biggest smile on my face when I heard that! Absolutely brilliant!

I also had a chuckle at the cleaning guitars, making tea, etc for 50p a day. It sounded so similar to my early days at Wing in Sidcup when I was the fresh faced 15 year old Saturday boy. The duties were exactly the same, plus I was also in charge of the vacuum cleaner. From memory I think the daily rate was roughly the same as well!

I really miss the stories that Barry told, so hearing your podcast was incredible. I’m positive he would have loved hearing it and  probably would’ve been able to give you a few more to add in!"


We at bj.com heartily recommend you visit Planet Guitar - to not only read more about Barry and Wing Music (there's a great photograph of young Jim in the store) - but also to check out the guitar tuition and instrument repair services Plant Guitar specialise in!

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Jazzman John Clarke - Now A 'Ghost On The Road'...!


     Jazzman John Clarke
          
Jazzman John Clarke 1948-2018


Sad news reaches us that the inspirational performance poet Jazzman John Clarke has died.

Mr Jenkins very much enjoyed accompanying him and his 'Jazz Circus' in the studio in 2008 for the CD release 'What Jazz Can Do For Your Life'
(Waterline Music Splash 13) and on a handful of SE London live performances.

The guitarist even got John partaking in the occasional game of bowls at Francis Drake BC atop Hilly Fields, about which he wrote a typically delightful poem which hung on the wall of the pavilion for many a year.

Billy was greatly touched when asked if he would write the forward to John's 2012 collection 'All the way from Kathmandu' (Nirala) and, by way of a small tribute, we reprint an extract:

   "I have no time for imitation. Yet John works a genre decades old that, 
     under his pen, becomes refreshed, revitalised, reinvented and reborn.

    He is indeed everybody I meet, his art old as rivers of time. 
    Fired by a muse that burns so bright I fear spontaneous combustion. 

    Careful how you hold this book. It might burn. 
    But beautifully.
    With life.
    And with love."

Other moving words of tribute can be found on the Poetry Society site and at Writeoutloud.


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The Joy Of Two Drumkits!


Mike Pickering
Beowulf Mayfield captures Mike Pickering in the groove...

Episode 3 of Series Three of the
Billy Jenkins Listening Club snap-cast-web-cast-podcast is now online.

And with Billy still on the run after presenter Beowulf Mayfield's attempt at
retrogressive hypnosis on the guitarist in Episode 1 went awry, Wulfie went to talk to Blues Collective drummer Mike Pickering about Billy's fascination of sometimes using two stick drummers and especially working with the wonderful Roy Dodds.

Enjoy Episode 3 'A Stick In The Wheel' here!

And follow Beowulf's photographic, writing and creative adventures here!


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Terror On Tour....!


Billy Wall
Scared Bill picture by Beouwulf Mayfield.

The second episode of Series Three of the Billy Jenkins Listening Club snap-cast-web-cast-podcast is now online - and, with guitarist Billy not having yet returned after running off at the end of Episode One and in his continuing absence, presenter Beowulf 'Wulfie' Mayfield unravels a frightening tale penned by the bandleader entitled, 'The Day I (Nearly) Died'....

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Going Back To Hell.....!


Daniel and Billy
The guitarist's grandson Daniel Lemmard (captured
by Beowulf Mayfield) and Billy age 3....


He may be musically mute (save the minor diversion of the new 'Ghost Music' piano album), but Mr Jenkins, together with presenter Beowulf 'Wulfie' Mayfield, can't keep away from the broadcast medium, as the Billy Jenkins Listening Club snapcast launches Series Three!

Cast your ears over Episode One, as Beowulf attempts to practise his retrogressive hypnosis on the guitarist (performed by then six year old Daniel Lemmard - Billy's grandson) as they analyse 'First Day In Hell' from the 2002 Blues Collective 'LIFE' album!


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Ghost Music - A 'Background Only' Download Album!



Ghost Music


Friday 13th April 2018 sees (hears) the release of a brand new Billy Jenkins recording!

'Ghost Music' continues his research into the digital format, following on from the solo low strung guitar albums The Semi-detached Suburban Home (2014) and   ‘Death, Ritual & Resonation’ (2015).

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 YT icon

'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. 

iTunes also offers a free download 'cover'!

Track listing and more information here!


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Mercury Man Realigns With Billy!


Mercury Man


Around the end of the last century, the local SE London Mercury newspaper would often print a 'postcard home' that,
whilst in some far flung corner of Europe, Jenkins, the reluctant wandering minstrel, would send to their resident columnist Mercury Man.

Merc Man has now resurfaced on the wonderful 853 website, that covers 'public interest journalism for Greenwich and SE London', all brilliantly curated by the editor
Darryl Chamberlain.
853 website
Merc Man wanted to know, amongst other grasshopper musings, 'just why the guitarist had stopped performing' and 'what exactly are these Listening Club podcasts....?'

Tap the link here to not only enjoy Billy's responses, but to feast you eyes on some of Beowulf Mayfield's wonderful photographs and Music Sn-Aps! - all laid out and resourced so delightfully by Mr Chamberlain!


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Billy Back In the Recording Studio!


Billy in the studio


Beowulf Mayfield gets an exclusive photograph of the guitarist back at work in Equator Studios - with the master Charlie Hart engineering and producing.

The album, 'Ghost Music', is scheduled for a download release in April.

But what sort of recording it will be....?

For, since his last contemporary recording, the solo low strung guitar
album  ‘Death, Ritual & Resonation,  released in 2015, his minor but chronic 'industrially related' physical issues has meant he hardly picks up the instrument.

And he struggles to make sense of digital download sound and how folks perceive and listen to music these days.

We listen forward to it with with 'bated ears'....!


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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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