Reference: FSRCD 931
Bar code: 8427328609319
Alto saxophonist John Jenkins (1931-1993), was one of the up-and-coming local young voices of the exciting Chicago jazz scene of the mid-fifties. Like so many other alto players then, he was considerably influenced by Parker and, to an extent, by Jackie McLean and Sonny Stitt, yet he had many personal turns of his own within the idiom. He attracted wider public attention in 1957 after moving to New York when he played briefly for Charlie Mingus. It quickly led to calls for gigs and recording dates; in his first year in the Big Apple he appeared as leader or co-leader on four albums, and on half a dozen more as a sideman. Surprisingly, however, he would never record again, but despite his oddly brief recording career, he’s still remembered for his invigorating recordings and his softer, almost poignant tone.
These two fine albums afforded him ample room to show his mettle. The presence of Kenny Burrell and an excellent rhythm section contributes in great part to the over-all vibrant, happy feel of the first session, and the unison alto-guitar sound that results is singularly attractive. On the second Jenkins was joined by another Chicagoan, Clifford Jordan, an excellent tenor saxophonist influenced by the early Sonny Rollins, and by an ideal rhythm section with Bobby Timmons on piano, for a relaxed and soulful meeting of minds.
-John Jenkins / Kenny Burrell
"The second (and best) of John Jenkins' two sessions as a leader features the altoist in a quintet with guitarist Kenny Burrell, pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Dannie Richmond. Sounding at times like Charlie Parker (with touches of Phil Woods and Jackie McLean), Jenkins easily keeps up with his better-known sidemen and plays the boppish music with plenty of creativity, emotion, and excitement. After listening to the high-quality set, one wonders why Jenkins did not make it."
-Jenkins, Jordan & Timmons
"Four of the five selections on this set (which also includes "Tenderly") are obscure jazz originals by altoist John Jenkins, tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan, or trombonist Julian Priester. Inspired by both Charlie Parker and Jackie McLean, Jenkins teams up with Jordan, pianist Bobby Timmons, bassist Wilbur Ware, and drummer Dannie Richmond for some bop-oriented improvising. Strange that this would be one of only two sets led by Jenkins. Although the Blue Note CD, recorded just 16 days later, gets the edge, this is an excellent effort too."
Both by Scott Yanow -All Music Guide
"Two solid hard-bop sessions from the mid-50s are presented here in one package. The title Young Jenkins fits well as, regrettably, there never was an old Jenkins as far as jazz is concerned. He was put in the studio first by Prestige and then by Blue Note and these tracks were followed by at least another six as leader or sideman but, curiously, he never recorded again after 1959.
This set kicks off with the Blue Note session where Jenkins’ bluesy sound recalls Parker and certain aspects of Jackie McLean. It is a slightly softer approach than either of those masters but very warm and lyrical. Burrell’s solos on guitar sparkle and Sonny Clark is an ideal pianist for this sort of everyday Blue Note session. Chambers and Richmond complete an ideal rhythm section, the drummer hired presumably because Jenkins had recently worked with a Mingus band.
Richmond turns up again on the Prestige session from two weeks earlier. Timmons and Ware make an equally compelling rhythm team and the frontline partner is Jordan, a thoroughly reliable tenor man of the time. Jenkins is particularly effective on ballads which bring out the best of his lyrical approach. Timmons is on great form both solo and comping. Although the Blue Note was recorded in stereo this release uses mono tapes which I find odd. Tasty blowing all round though."
Derek Ansell (September, 2017)
Jazz Journal Magazine
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