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Billy Jenkins

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South London Press Billy!
Enjoy Some 'Retail' Therapy!

Made In Brockley Is Now Your Unique Online UK CD Outlet!
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...!

Ghost Music - A 'Background Only' Download Album!


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!

The Billy Jenkins

Calling Card Collection

Billy Jenkins Calling Card                                Collection

 A collectable 3 CD series!!

South London P
ress Billy!

South London Press

Local media legend Peter Cordwell (a very close associate of Mercury Man) has managed to get a few quotes from the silent musician for the South London Press.

It's the first public quotes from Mr Jenkins for the first time since the 'pandemonium' started and well worth a look.

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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' is available exclusively from his own bandcamp site and by purchasing, you'll be helping Billy to continue his life's work. 

Billy bandcamp

Track listing and more information here.

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Made In Brockley Is Now Your Unique Online UK CD Outlet!

Made In Brockley
Shop local, they say....

We at billy.com are delighted that the musician's locally based Made In Brockley
online outlet is now exclusively selling actual CD copies of the the last five Billy albums
remaining in the VOTP  warehouse - 'sadtimes.co.uk', 'LIFE', 'I Am A Man From Lewisham', 'Born Again (and the religion is the blues)' and 'Jazz Give Me The Blues'.

If you live in London SE4, SE14 & SE8, Made In Brockley will deliver free.

Otherwise, there is a small post & packing charge - but deliveries can only be sent to UK addresses only.

Unless you download FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) files from Billy's (slowly developing) Bandcamp site, you cannot guarantee the audio quality.

But, on CD, you can be assured that the recordings and full tonal spectrum are exactly as the composer intended.

Treat yourself or a friend to a copy now!

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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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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 his own bandcamp site and by purchasing, you'll be helping Billy to continue his life's work. 

Billy bandcamp

Track listing and more information here!

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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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