Willard Jenkins

Willard’s Contributions


June 2000    Hearsay

James Spaulding

Cross-generational part-nerships seem rare these days. But just such a relationship has been fruitful for veteran reedman James Spaulding. His 11-year hook-up with David Murray finds him playing a valuable role in Murray’s octet. On the wings of his latest...


June 2000    Albums

If Trees Could Talk
Hamiet Bluiett/Larry Willis

No duet encounter is worth its weight in salt if the participants aren't reading from the same page, and baritone sax master Hamiet Bluiett and pianist Larry Willis operate as if a pair of young siblings sharing the same engrossing book throughout this date...


June 2000    Albums

Swingin' the Blues
Claude "Fiddler" Williams

Anyone who's seen Bruce Ricker's classic film Last of the Blue Devils vividly recalls its images of Count Basie, Joe Turner, Buster Smith, Jay McShann and a swinging cast of hundreds. And, oh yeah, how about that swinging fiddle man. For some, that film...


May 2000    Albums

Ballad Session
Mark Turner

It takes fortitude to buck convention, which suggests that an entire program of ballads just won't make it in these swift, dot-com times. Fortitude, a bucket of self-assurance and a kind of quiet confidence in one's instrumental abilities and session mates...


May 2000    Albums

Wandering Moon
Terence Blanchard

Anyone expecting Terence Blanchard to rest on his laurels, comfortably ensconced in the lucrative world of motion picture scoring, better think again. Though his abiding interest in film scoring is evidenced by his continuing ascension to the A list of the...


May 2000    Albums

Grown Folks Bizness
Orrin Evans Trio

Evans' confidence and facility are evident in the range of material and challenges he sets for himself on Grown Folks Bizness, and in his impressive use of open space. His solo "Rocking Chair" injects some gentle stride and slightly dissonant chords in an...


May 2000    Albums

In the Blink of an Eye
Sam Yahel

Sam Yahel, as he did at the Monk Competition, appeals as a reflective, mature artist with a good sense of his skills and a tangible level of control. Take his tender version of "Spring Is Here", or the relaxed (not languid) approach to Freddie Hubbard's...


May 2000    Albums

Back to Stay
Ralph Peterson

Drummer dates can be hazardous to anyone for whom bombast and over-drumming are anathema. The raw power and spirit of Ralph Peterson remain admirable qualities. That impetuousness has also been a drawback at times as past times suggested a tendency to steamroll...


May 2000    Albums

The Unity
Adonis Rose

With Adonis Rose, Miles Davis' mid-'60s quintet is the touchstone. The title stems what is essentially a Nicholas Payton quintet date with flipping the leadership script to the drummer. Payton's sumptuous skills are served up in heaping portions. He is joined...


May 2000    Albums

The Crossing
Sylvia Cuenca

Sylvia Cuenca's resume runs from the Vienna Art Orchestra to Clark Terry's drummer of choice. Her impressive drive coupled with finesse has brightened numerous bandstands, though due in part to jazz's stilted sexual politics her skills aren't as widely recognized...


May 2000    Albums

Pocket Brass Band
Ray Anderson

Ray Anderson tailgates down to New Orleans with this edition of his Pocket Brass Band, a brass band in miniature. He's pared down the traditional brass band instrumentation to himself, Matt Perrine on sousaphone, trumpeter Lew Soloff and the adroit, versatile...


April 2000    Albums

In the Spirit of John Coltrane
Sonny Fortune

A native of Philadelphia, where John Coltrane grew immeasurably as a musician, Sonny Fortune is one of those relentless, tireless saxophone improvisers who fell under the spell of Trane early and has manifested that spirit throughout his career. Inspired...


March 2000    Hearsay

Jimmy Greene

Tenor saxophonist Jimmy Greene was narrowly edged out of the top prize at the Thelonious Monk Competition in ’97 despite musical dexterity and a large sound befitting the Hartford native’s big frame. Evidence of Greene’s talents emerged on his recorded debut...


January/February 2000    Albums

Nick @ Night
Nicholas Payton

Payton delivers a program of largely originals, spiced by two additions from the band (Tim Warfield, saxes; Anthony Wonsey, piano; Reuben Rogers, bass; Adonis Rose, drums) and the surprise inclusion of Maurice White's pop-jazz classic "Sun Goddess." This...


January/February 2000    Albums

Live at the Blue Note
Irvin Mayfield Sextet

Irvin's band is enriched by the always complimentary Eric Reed on piano, and his frontline sound is capacious with the addition of Wes Anderson's alto sax and Delfeayo Marsalis' trombone. One thing that plagues Mayfield's date is its somewhat pedestrian...


January/February 2000    Albums

Will Smith Quartet and Company

Will Smith is a big-boned tenor saxophonist, augmented by occasional soprano, out of Washington, DC, who is yet another in a continuing line of promising players from the jazz program at Howard University. A note of caution: you may find it necessary to...

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About Willard Jenkins