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Billy Jenkins

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Various articles, features, interviews and archive trivia from the 1970's onwards can also be found at the Billy Jenkins Webzine site.


Enjoy Some 'Retail' Therapy
Land Of The Free.....


Alec Sykes 1937-2020
John Cumming 1948-2020
Listening Club Series Four Box Set Binge Now Online
Don't Forget To.....
Music For Self-Isolation
Sharing The Musical Vision
Messages From The Other Side
There Is No Glass...

2016-2019 can be sourced here

.....Billy films on show.....When producer Tony Messenger met Billy....Jenkins writes for Jazz Journal.... Terror on tour....'Scratches of Spain' a Top 20 Jazzwise magazine Album Of The Year...Listening Club now on Spotify.....Billy takes over BBC R3.....New 'Listening Club' podcast series begins...Pigfoot Play Billy...Writer Philip Watson recalls Billy's Wire magazine 'Invisible Jukebox'....Vortex Jazz Club celebrates Billy...and much more!

2012-2015 can be sourced here

......'Death, Ritual & Resonation' solo guitar download album released.....Thames TV archive captures Jenkins as a 'young fogey'....film fun with poet Ian McMillan...British Jazz CD 1966-90 features Billy...
The Semi-Detached Suburban Home (Music for Low Strung Guitar) released.....Musicians - do you remember them?...Ginger Baker's Nutters CD emerges....and much more!

2008-2011 can be sourced here

.......'Jazz Gives me The Blues' an Album of the Year 2011....Billy with Arthur Smith on BBC R4....... Glasgow Herald feature.....BBC Big Band Play Billy.......Hysteria, Fear & Live Music.....BBC Ban Billy.......BBC Apologise To Billy......and much more!

Various articles, features, interviews and archive trivia from the 1970's onwards can also be found at the Billy Jenkins Webzine site.

Enjoy Some 'Retail' Therapy

Retail album cover

The guitarist, composer and bandleader has never been concerned with style labelling or ‘niche’. He’d gather musicians and people together to make music.

Yes, it would come out like jazz, blues, rock or classical – often all at the same time. He just called it ‘aural art’. Often the music was created especially for the medium it would be available on - be it vinyl, cassette, CD or digital download.

2021 celebrates 40 years since his first 'aural art' recording - and is now available exclusively from Billy own own bandcamp site

‘Retail’ is a carefully constructed 42 minutes of recycled (thus eco-friendly) sound, featuring eight previously available recorded works ranging from 1981 to 2018.

Featuring two generations of not only some of the world’s finest improvising musicians, but also:

- Performers who have featured on at least five Top 10 pop hits (including four number 1’s);
- Skilled musicians encouraged to play instruments they are not technically familiar with;
- A solo ‘low strung guitar’ extract:
- Concludes with the guitarist playing solo ‘composer’ piano.

Due to his acute hyperacusis (a hyper-sensitivity to sound), Jenkins is currently (but stoically) silent. And so, for his most recent recording, ’Ghost Music’, recorded in 2018, he returned to the solo piano (for the first time since the vinyl album ‘Piano Sketches 1973-1984). Although mostly played ‘sotto voce’, that resulted in not only three days of vertigo but, of much more interest, an extraordinary prophetic piece entitled ‘Peopleless Towns’…..

Listening to ‘Retail’ is like consuming a Chinese takeaway. Digesting this album curiously leaves you wanting more – which is exactly what a ‘sampler’ should do!

Unsettled, worrying but life affirming times deserve an unsettling, worrying but life affirming soundtrack - enjoy some ‘Retail’ therapy!


'Retail' how now been removed from Billy's
bandcamp site, so folks kindly paying for all releases don't pay twice for the same recordings.

Track listing and more information here.

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Land Of The Free.....

Uncommerciality Vol.3

Thirty years after it was first released on cassette, 'Land Of The Free', the closing meditation of 'Uncommerciality Vol.3', featuring the haunting alto saxophone of Mark Ramsden, is a sadly fitting soundtrack to the images capturing the madness of the storming of the US Capitol building in Washington DC on the 6th January 2021.....


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Alec Sykes 1937-2020

Alec Sykes

Sad to report that yet another one of Billy's fabulous promoters, Alec Sykes, slipped away from us all recently.

Alec and his beloved wife Faith founded the Wakefield Jazz Club in 1987 running it until 2004 and it continues to thrive to this day. Over the years, Billy had the unforgettable pleasure of performing there on several occasions..

By way of tribute, we at billy.com reproduce a piece that the guitarist wrote for a celebratory 21st Birthday Magazine in 2008. It offers an unseen insight into that special relationship twixt a performer and a superb promoter for whom one always (literally) tried to go that extra mile:

One off Friday night shows in Yorkshire are always a problem for us southern softies and such is the pleasure of playing Wakefield Jazz Club, many London based players willingly do a one off 400 mile round trip. It really is that special.

But as WJC regulars know from various late arrivals over the last twenty years, travel up the M1or A1 on a Friday night is never easy.

So for our Blues Collective show in April (29th) 2005 we took no chances. Drummer Mike Pickering and myself set off from SE London at noon, picking up violinist Dylan Bates at Victoria.

Three and a half hours later we ground to a halt in Worksop as we tried to cut across from the A1 to the M1 south east of Sheffield.

Now, I can tell you a lot about Worksop.

The back streets, the double glazing, the front gardens, the school run, the corner shops with children milling outside, the stupid stickers on the back of the car in front, the roundabouts, the one way (always the wrong way) streets. But I won't.

I never, ever want to spent another moment there.

I want to tell you about Wakefield Jazz Club and that fateful April evening when we rolled into the Sports Club seven hours after leaving home.

I hadn't eaten for nine hours - no time to stop.'Try the Steak & Guinness Pie', advised guitarist Richard Bolton -  a man who knows his food.I did. It did indeed looked and smelt fantastic.

Two mouthfuls in and I was pole axed by the most painful indigestion.

Micky Pick, being a man somewhat conversant with body mechanics showed me how to stick a finger down my throat  to regurgitate on account of 'pastry being stuck in my gullet'.

Lying on what looked like a psychiatrist's couch which is strategically placed in the upstairs dressing room area, I surprised myself at just how good I was at this new, exciting sport.

Only there was nothing to throw up into and anyway, all the other chaps were chomping merrily on their own grub and would hardly welcome the arrival of some warm vomit.

Mouth full to bursting in best Dizzy mode, I rushed down the stairs towards the Gents. A bearded, beaming face popped up out of nowhere and blocked my path.

    "Billy! We've come to see you! How are you!?"

     "Mmm, mmmm, mmm, mm," I replied, hastily pushing past and onwards to the big white telephone where I bid goodbye to my pie.

Several times.

And so I took to the stage (well, it's a floor really, isn't it) still starving and still with the most terrible indigestion now on top of incredible hunger pains.

Oh yes, how you all laughed. You thought I was joking. Truth is, I never joke. You just think it's funny.

Well, the Wakefield magic did it's stuff and by 11pm I may have been shaking and exhausted from lack of food but I was happy that the room was happy and replete and Richard, Dylan, Thad Kelly and Mike had lifted hearts and feet.

Now, the odd thing is (and somehow this is typical of the uniqueness of the WJC) the man I bumped into on the stairs with a face full of bile (me, not him - have you been paying attention!?) was John 'Marsden' Quail.

I have to tell you, having been on and off the road for over 30 years my body doesn't take the timeshift strain so well and over the last dozen years various physical and mental oddities have resulted - one being bad indigestion if I don't eat regularly.

And one such time I got it bad was at the 2000 Marsden Jazz Festival. And who was the man who advised me to 'massage my bowel', spoke soothing words to ease my woe and made sure I returned to some sort of normality?

Why, none other than John 'Marsden' Quail!

And when I look out across the Sports Club room at people like John, Alec, Faith, Chris, Bootleg Eric, the Leeds Jazz Mob and many other familiar faces, I know the Wakefield Jazz regulars are seriously hardcore about their music.

You can't coast, fake it or pretend.

Which is why us southern softies love it so.

Real people get real music - and there ain't nothing like it where we come from.

Thank you for inviting me and my wonderful musicians.

Billy sends his heartfelt thoughts and thanks to Faith, family, friends and all at Wakefield Jazz.

Amongst many other words of thanks
from musicians online , there is a fitting tribute to be read on the Wakefield Express website.

We walk on in eternal gratitude.

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John Cumming 1948-2020

John Cumming

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 walk on in eternal gratitude.

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Listening Club Series Four Box Set Binge Now Online

BJLC Series 4 YT promo

The photographer, writer and web-pod-snapcast wonder Beowulf 'Wulfie' Mayfield continues his inspired analysis of Billy's music - both aurally and in images!

If you enjoy this Billy Jenkins Listening Club Series Four Box Set Binge promotional video - spank your mouse here to access all six episodes.

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Don't Forget To.....

Washing Hands

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.

Stay safe!

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Music For Self-Isolation

Billy isolated

Listening Club presenter Beowulf 'Wulfie' Mayfield has come up with an inspired sixteen track selection of Billy music to accompany your Corona Virus self-isolation.....

Available exclusively on Spotify.

Spotify Self isolation playlist

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Sharing The Musical Vision

Chris Batchelor
Batchmo smiles for Wulfie

'Playing Billy' is the title of the final episode of Series Four of the
Billy Jenkins Listening Club   'pod-cum-snapcast' presented by Beowulf Mayfield.

And who better to talk about Billy's music and modus than the innovative and creative trumpet player, composer and educator Chris Batchelor.

Enjoy 17' 35" of Batch talking and playing Billyness here.

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Messages From The Other Side

Ghost Piano
Beowulf possibly captures the spirit of Billy....

'Ghost Music' is the topic of the latest Billy Jenkins Listening Club 'pod-cum-snapcast' presented by Beowulf Mayfield.

Our intrepid Wulfie was supposed to meet guitarist Billy at Charlie Hart's Equator Studios - but it seems he's turned into a piano......

Enjoy a scary 13 minutes here.

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There Is No Glass......

Charlie and Billy
Beowulf captures a contented producer and guitarist....

2020 - and the 'year of perfect vision' gets under way. And Billy remains silent....

Silent - but satisfied.

None more so when the creative polyglot
Beowulf Mayfield comes up with yet another Billy Jenkins Listening Club gem.

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.

Enjoy an eight minute gem here!

The episode features the title track from 'Jazz Gives Me The Blues', recorded by Charlie in 2010.

You can find out more about the amazing Mr Hart here.

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