Billy Jenkins. What is he like ...?



If you find any new 'uns, let us have 'em!

'Way before Mike Skinner hit The Streets with his urban tales, Billy Jenkins was already
singing about the Bromley and southeast London streets.'  12.4.10

'The musical equivalent of Duchamp’s moustachioed Mona Lisa.'  16.08.11

'Jenkins is the Mike Leigh of British jazz'   The Guardian   23.11.10

'Like the art of his spiritual predecessors, Blake and Bunyan, there's much sophistication beneath what
appears a gallimaufry of the guilelessly innocent with the spendidly rough hewn.'   Jazzwise  Sept 2010

'Taps into the blues spirit of the likes of Jimmy Smith and Fats Waller collaborator J. C. Johnson.' 7.11

'The fantastically titled Francis Drake Bowling Club could be the soundtrack of a silent  Charlie Chaplin movie.'  12.4.10

'The Victor Meldrew of avant-garde jazz and, more recently,blues...' - METRO Newspaper 11.11.06

'That wounded bear voice makes Tom Waits sound almost like Blossom Dearie'  Jazzwise Dec/Jan 2010

'Possessed by the souls of Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix and John Fahey' - Termite Club Website 5.3.04

'Sounding like some undiscovered John Oswald plunderphonics reinterpretation of Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music' - Termite Club Website 5.3.04

'Looking like a dishevelled cross between Freddie Starr and Father Jack'  - Wakefield Express

'Think of Billy as being like the Fool in Shakespearian drama'. Blues In Britain Sept 2002

' David Johansen.'    Sunday Times 15.9.02

'A Muddy Waters feel mingles with jazz on the opening title track. '   (  12.4.10)

'Comes out sounding like George Benson on acid' (The Observer 17.7.11)

'..the most affecting workaday lament since Keith Moons 'Bellboy' from the Who's Quadrophenia'
(The Tablet 4.10.02)

'Combines the attack of in-your-face adepts such as James Blood Ulmer and Sonny Sharrock with the downhome
funk of Lightning Hopkins and Muddy Waters, and throws in the spirit of Dave Davies of The Kinks, circa "You
Really Got Me." The recipe is Jenkins' own.'  ( 6.11)

'Like (Tony) Hancock or Harry H. Corbett, this is a comedian who hankers to play Hamlet...'
(Jazzwise Dec/Jan 2010)

'a hoe-down shuffle worthy of Swamptrash'  BJ Webzine 08/02

'The rhythm could be the Brain of Morbius doing a Mud cover and the guitars go off like two Zal Cleminsons playing in Lynryd Skynyrd.' (BJ Webzine 08/02)

'Billy Jenkins is the Leo Baxandall of Free Improvisation'  (Royal College of Art gig poster 12.2.02)

'The P.T.Barnum of the out galaxies'  (The Guardian 23.08.97)

'a combination of Woody Allen, Tony Hancock and Keith Floyd' (Blueprint 10.01)

'The Beano' (Wire 11.00)

'funnier than anything Carla Bley has created for the last 20 years at least' (Cadence 12.99)

'calls to mind Willem Breuker's Kollektief' (Cadence 12.99)

'the Blues Brothers' (Birmingham Post 29.8.01)

'Talking James Carter up a storm' (Wire 11.00)

'Jenkins' own slashing re-imaginging of Muddy Waters slide attack, the devil's spawn of Johnny 'Guitar'
Watson out of Derek Bailey.'     Jazzwise Sept 2010

'He’s unlikely to be duetting with Diana Krall or Stacey Kent any time soon. On the poignant
closer I Took A Walk, Jenkins adopts a more understated style, perhaps reminiscent of Kurt
Wagner or Bill Callahan.'
( 8.11.10)

'a counter to Gil Evans's impressionism' (New Statesman 31.1.00)

'Sid James..' (Wire 11.00)

'a concerto of Sugarcane Harris proportions' (Wire 11.01)

'reminiscant of Alexis Korner' (Blueprint 1.98)

'maybe Steve Marriott' (Wire 11.00)

'Chopin’s preludes, Morton Feldman and Marty Feldman, shades of Messiaen,
Mingus’ solo piano meditation' (Jazzwise 7.18)

'reminds you of Johnny Mars' (Blueprint 10.01)

'next to Jenkins, Pulp seem like feckless dilettanti' (New Statesman 31.1.00)

'true Oliver Reed style' (Rhythm 9.01)

'Billy's voice took a tonal slide from Louis Armstrong pitch to Barry White territory. ' (BJ Webzine 12/99)

'Like that weird little sod in Sparks' (Blueprint 10.01)

'will remind you of Tom Waits' (Blueprint 10.01)

'He rushes his phrasing in the manner of jazz singers such as Mark Murphy. Elsewhere, he
often resembles the way Bob Dylan often now sounds in concert – aggressive, unpredictable
and in a real hurry to spit the words out.'
(  8.11.10}

'Howlin' Wolf on steriods' (Guardian 23.11.01)

'His solos and fills are kind of, er, Tiny Grimes as imagined by Vernon Reid of Living Colour.' (Blues & Rhythm - June 2001)

'In fine Alec Guinness form' (Blues Matters! - June 2001)

'Could have been Randy Newman singing this one' (Blues Matters! - June 2001)

'A six-string cross between Thelonious Monk, Mose Allison and Dr. John' (Jazz Review - December 2000)

‘He's the descendent of John Dowland here' (Wire 8.15)

'One of those strange people, like Elvis Costello' (Birmingham Post 04.11.00)

'He is, along with the Princess Royal and Walthamstow Dog Stadium, one of our national treasures' (Penguin Guide to Jazz, 2000)

'Plays guitar like Kafka in one of his nightmares' (The Mercury 18.10.00)

'File alongside JJ Cale, Keb Mo and Tom Waits' (Huddersfield Daily Examiner 13.10.00)

'Like fellow intellectual Jean-Paul Sartre...' (London Evening Standard 28.9.00)

'Louis Armstrong, Jimi Hendrix and Billy Connolly rolled together' (The Stage 7.10.93)

'The Rowan Atkinson of jazz' (City Limits 1.88)

'The world of Derek Bailey'(Guardian 11.7.97)

'comparison with John Fahey, Jack Rose' (Wire 8.15)

'Keith Rowe's technique makes B.J. look like George Benson' (Glasgow Herald 30.1.97

'I'd plump for Steve Beresford vs Blue Gene Tyranny with Fats Waller as ref!' (City Limits 8.2.84)

'Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band' (Jazz Nu 4.93)

'S.E. London's answer to Victor Borge (with a dash of Spike Jones thrown in)' (The Times 6.3.96)

In the manner of Jean Paul Bourrelly or Joe Morris' (The Wire 4.91)

'The thinking man's Billy Bragg' (Sounds 22.6.85)

'....atmospheric Liberation Music Orchestra-reminiscent pieces.'   (The Guardian  8.7.10)

'A William Breuker figure the UK jazz scene badly needs (Guiness Enc. of Popular Music 1992)

'Could be a distant relative of Casper Broetzmann' (Hessische Rundfunk 9.96)

'A Charles Brown disciple with T-Bone Walker overtones'(Jazz Journal 5.97)

' A James Brown rip-off' (Jazz Journal 3.88)

'Is Billy our [John] Cage, our [Eric] Satie, our [Sun] Ra, our [Eugene] Chadbourne?' (The Wire 4.91)

'Don Cherry meets Albert AylerÕ'(Jazz FM 8.7.97)

'Does what Noam Chomsky does for American foreign policy' (Jazz At Ronnies 7.98)

'John Cleese' (Jazz Live,Austria, 4.96)

'An anarchic roller coaster ride through a musical landscape dotted by such luminaries as Ornette Coleman, Adrian Belew, Ian Carr, Matching Mole, Soft Machine and Gong' (Highly Strung 12.90)

'A heartfelt Albert Collins' (Birmingham Post 1.2.97)

'A speeded up Tommy Cooper' (Marxism Today 11.90)

'Almost like a Hank Crawford or Boots Randolph album' (Rubberneck 7.95)

'Miles Davis' (Jazz Journal 3.88)

'Debussy' (The Wire 1.86)

'Like Barbara Dickson backing tracks' (Sunday Times 31.5.98)

'Delirious version of Dire Straits' (South London Press 22.7.94)

'Duane Eddy' (The Times 13.9.86)

'The post punk Duke Ellington' (Guardian 3.95)

'A virtuoso like James Emery' (The Wire 4.91)

'The harsh tone of Robert Fripp with the manual dexterity of Fred Frith at the same time' (Bristol Evening Post 11.10.90)

'Marvin Gaye-type smoochy slinkiness'(The Times 6.3.96)

'Reminds me of Dizzy Gillespie (in conversation with Junior Mance, Nurnberg 19.5.96)

'Charles Ives' (The Wire 1.86)

'Compare him with his uncle David Jenkins the [now retired] Bishop of Durham, for each is notorious' (Jazz Forum 4.92)

'The guitar itself is more Michael Karoli than Cream' (Melody Maker 28.9.85)

'He is to guitar playing what Evil Knevil is to safe motor bike riding' (City Limits 5.12.92)

'Comes somewhere between Hank Marvin and the Blue Ridge Mountains (sic)' (Jazz Journal 12.93)

'The Groucho Marx of modern Music' (The Wire 11.92)

'The Marx Brothers in the department store are nothing against Billy' (Jazz Thing 3.96)

'The Rick Mayall of Jazz' ( Birmingham Post 3.7.91)

'John McLaughlin on acid' (Guitar Techniques 11.94)

'The Denis the Menace of Music' (The Mercury 21.10.93)

'The spirit of the late Charles Mingus' (The Times 13.9.86)

'A demented Al Di Miola' (Highly Strung 4.91);

'Enrico Morricone' (Jazz Journal 3.88)

'A vocal raspy enough to be Van Morrison' (Jazz Express 11.92)

'Novelty nonsense along the lines of John Otway and Captain Sensible' (Finetime 3.97)

'An occassional glance at Paco Pena' (Highly Strung 4.91)

'Guitarwork is like viewing a Jackson Pollock or watching Paul Gascoyne' (Jazz At Ronnies 7.98)

'Leon Redbone style grunts' (Highly Strung 4. 91)

'More in common with Vic Reeves' (Sunday Times 31.5.98)

'Collides with The Residents' (Jazz On CD 10.94)

'Telly Savalas-style vocals' (Sunday Times 31.5.98)

'The Alexei Sayle of London Jazz' (Yorkshire Evening Post 7.11.92)

'Sonny Sharrock' (Der Standard 7.91)

'Could be usefully compared to early Stockhausen or recent John Zorn' (Hi-Fi News 7.93)

'Whether in Hubert Sumlin or B.B.King mode consistently produces the goods'(The Times 24.1.97)

'Sounds like it was conducted by Carl Stalling' (Sunday Times 31.5.98)

'Le Jacques Tati du jazz british' (La buleuse du Hask 1.97)

'Creed Taylor's late nite funk' (The Wire 10.90)

'A mixture of James Blood Ulmer, and Ry Cooder' (HR2 Radio,Germany 7.89)

'A Three Stooges end to a Three Stooges set' (Mojo 3.94)

'He is more like Norman Wisdom' (The Observer 12.1.97)

' A sad, quirky spontaneity reminiscent of Robert Wyatt and Phil Minton' (Rubberneck 7.96)

and finally,

'Unlike Frank Zappa, he is not yet dead'(Venue 6.96)

I-Spy Spotters: F. O'Donnell, O.Weindling, A.Canny, D.Smedley, L.Spencer, D.Ward, K.Rowe, J.Steel, R.Loydell, P.Daub, B.Watson, B.Mayfield, A.Zuper and others

back to front page