I first came across Billy Jenkins as part of Burlesque, a band playing support to the Kursaal Flyers. They were the most anarchic and surprising rock act I’d ever seen, and Billy was the focus of the most bizarre aspects of a fairly weird outfit! Sadly neither of their albums could properly capture the live act. But some years later I came across his early jazz recordings, the first I purchased wasUncommerciality vol. 1and I became an occasional follower though being both busy and out of London observed live performances were very few. No matter…Billy’s work has always been brilliant, full of character and joy, sometimes more ‘difficult’ for some but never dull or unforgettable. I’ve been catching up with the more recent stuff over the past few days including those episodes of The Billy Jenkins Listening Club I hadn’t got round to. These ‘snapcasts’ are excellent giving both a flavour of the man and the music. I also went online to pick up his most recent outing Ghost Music by BUYING IT. I say this loudly as I’m firmly of the view that artists should be properly paid for their work! I don’t know Billy personally of course but I’m pretty sure he’d like (or maybe it was his doing) that when I put the downloads into iTunes his album came up as ‘Unknown Genre’. Magnificent! I’m thinking my artwork (if it ever sees the light of day again, postviral) should be tagged with the same epithet!
“He always maintained that you’ve got to be able to play straight to really play wonky”
Beowulf “Wulfie” Mayfield, discussing Billy Jenkins musical philosophy in Episode Six, Series Two of The Billy Jenkins Listening Club