The following statements were handed to the audience at The Wardrobe,
Leeds on the 6th June 2001.
BJ was booked into Wakefield (not a million miles from Leeds) two
days later on the 8th - . To appease both promotors and to keep things
fresh Billy had to uphold a strange contractual obligation.....
STATEMENT FROM LEEDS JAZZ
"The relationship that exists between Leeds Jazz and Billy Jenkins
is a very special one. Billy first appeared for us with The Voice of God
Collective in November 1987 and since that date we at Leeds Jazz have given
our utmost support to everything he does and employed him on virtually
an annual basis to come to Leeds and paid him handsomely to do so. By my
reckoning, tonight marks Billy's 12th appearance for Leeds Jazz.
On a personal level, my own dedication to Billy's music has taken me
to such exotic locations as Wakefield Jazz (of which more later), Sheffield
Jazz, Thwaites Mill here in Leeds, Marsden Jazz Festival, Crawley
Outside In Festival, Blackheath Concert Halls, Pizza Express in Soho, The
Vortex in Stoke Newington and most recently the Barbican Centre in London.
I say all this just to emphasise the personal sense of betrayal I feel
over the circumstances of tonight's concert. This concert was booked almost
a year ago. It wasn't until very recently that I learned that Billy and
Alec Sykes of Wakefield Jazz had cooked up a rival concert in 2 days time
on Friday at Wakefield Jazz. Sneaky or what?
Contractual obligations have obliged us to go ahead with tonight's concert
but a last minute amendment (if adhered to) could work to all our benefits.
Tonight will see Sets 1 and 2 of a four set gig here in Leeds to be
continued with sets 3 and 4 at Wakefield on Friday. A penalty clause inserted
in the contract obliges "Mr Jenkins (the party in the first part) to repay
Leeds Jazz (the party in the second part) £10 for any number played
in Leeds also repeated at Wakefield Jazz (the party in the third part)".
However I can only assume that all manner of attempts will be made to
avoid the conditions of that part of the contract. We therefore invite
everyone in this room to attend all four sets of this gig and act as independent
adjudicators in this matter. Please beware particularly of dirty tricks
such as segways, endless medleys, alternate versions, songs which abrupty
change in the middle, etc.
I trust you will all take this responsibility as seriously as it deserves
and give a cautious welcome to Billy Jenkins' Blues Collective"
BILLY'S RIGHT TO REPLY
"Fitting that tonight's performance is my 12th for Leeds Jazz. I feel
Leeds and its environs has always been my spiritual performing home from
when we first worked here in the mid 1970's with Burlesque.
Because I care and because I believe that 'jazz' is not now 'what
I was bought up to perceive it as', I now play Blues.
Which seems fitting when one of the Uk's premier jazz promoters
has to come cap in hand to the musician to help bolster their diminishing
And for that (and let me make it quite clear I salute those reading
this missive) I blame the so called 'jazz musician'.
I am only a MUSICIAN.
Sometimes things I play go 'jazzy'.
How can you say 'I am a jazz musician'? That means you start
'wonky'. Therefore to 'jazz it up' one can only play 'straight'.
Yes, Kenny G.
And have YOU ever been invited to Leeds Jazz!!? Eh!? Eh!?
The key to 'proper jazz' lies not in the 'study of the genre',
but usage of third dimensional assets - the line up of musicians, instruments,
room acoustics, the type of audience (average age/sitting?/standing?bar
in room?), geographical location, time of day, day of the week, the season
and so on. But most importantly - the thrill of partaking in and witnessing
aural and visual kineticism.
Too many so called 'jazzers' are so preoccupied with the
disciplines of music making, they don't even realise they are sitting upon
a stage. What is a stage FOR? To PERFORM on, of course.
I personally find greater tunefulness and excitement in motorsports
that any 'jazz concert'. No wonder audiences have been diminishing and
no wonder Leeds Jazz need YOUR continued support.
Therefore, to add a bit of spice, it really does make sense to
put my musician's wages on the line (err, I haven't told 'em yet....) and
try and keep things fresh. I think it's called 'a bit of a gamble'.
Finally, just to give you some statistical background,
consider the following figures:
The are 12 bars in a blues
12 notes in a chromatic scale
3 chords in a twelve bar
But add the 15 passing chords Richard Bolton will probably throw
6 tunes per set (give or take)
2 sets a gig
12 x 12 x 3 x15 x 6 x 2 x 2 = 155,520
take that away from the number of flams and paradiddles Mike Pickering
usual does per gig which is
77,757 (yes - he IS a noisy bastard) multiply that by the two
gigs = 155, 514
Subtract 155,514 from 155,520
Which leave us with six tunes.
One for each musician and er, ONE FOR YOU - the audience.
SO HOW ARE YOU NOT GOING TO REPEAT YOURSELVES AT WAKEFIELD ON FRIDAY?
My 12th performance at Leeds Jazz.
Could this be the last bar of the blues......?"
For the record, BJ ended up paying out just £10 (so he says)
as he insisted on doing the Charles Brown tune 'A Virus Called The Blues'
twice. The Most Eminent Mr Paul Connor was appointed Judge of Fact,
but as Jenkins was overheard after both gigs filling him in on the 'names
of numbers I didn't quite catch....' we're not sure whether obligations
He's dodgy, that Jenkins. He played 'Caravan' really fast and
midget-like but called it 'Caravanette'. Then he did 'One Note Samba'
with three part counterpoint but called it 'Three Note Samba' . He's a
con man and he knows it. No wonder he's got the blues. He ain't got the
bottle(neck) when the (micro)chips are down.
Lucky he's got brilliant musicians in his band to cover his dodgyness.
Give Richard Bolton all the guitar solos!