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Best known as a pianist, Marvin Jenkins (1932-2005) was also a skilled flute player, tenor saxophonist, organist and a proficient composer. In the early 60s, in addition to working with guitarist Barney Kessels quartet, he recorded three excellent piano trio albums as leader.
The first, Marv Jenkins Arrives (1960), an auspicious debut on the small Los Angeles label Orovox, moved a&r Neal Hefti to sign him for Reprise Records, where he recorded A Tribute to My People (1961), and Good Little Man (1962). Bassists Jack Bruce and Stanley Gilbert and drummer Kenny Dennis contributed to the good groove achieved on both.
Jenkins touch was heavy and swinging, funky without being trite. Despite naming Erroll Garner and Oscar Peterson as influences, he sounded like neither. The twelve selections of the fourth album in this set, Big City, produced by Palomar Records in 1965, served as good vehicles for his talents as pianist, singer and composer, in a groovy session backed by some West Coast jazz stalwarts. That year, still with Palomar, he had a hit single, Ive Got the Blues, added here as a bonus.
Jenkins was an underrated jazzman who spent 25 years of his career as an accompanist to singer/actress Della Reese, and is best known today for his piano work on Marvin Gayes classic 1973 recording Lets Get It On.
01. Bluesology (Jackson) 4:17
02. A Foggy Day (G. & I. Gershwin) 4:00
03. Duet (Jenkins) 2:57
04. Ive Never Been In Love Before (Loesser) 4:31
05. One Mint Julep (Toombs) 4:00
06. Stella by Starlight (Young) 4:34
07. Cubano Chant (Bryant) 2:50
08. Fugue for Lulu (Mitchell) 3:11
09. Marvs Blues (Jenkins) 2:59
10. Dont Get Around Much Anymore (Ellington-Russell) 2:46
11. St. Louis Blues (Handy) 3:10
12. Someday Sweetheart (J. & B. Spikes) 2:36
13. Dont Be That Way (Sampson-Goodman-Parish) 2:43
14. Misty (Garner-Burke) 3:16
15. Cherry (Redman-Gilbert) 3:31
16. Undecided (Shavers-Robin) 2:43
17. Canadian Sunset (Heywood-Gimbell) 3:37
18. When Its Sleepy Time Down South (René-Muse) 2:52
19. Hallelujah, I Love Her So (Ray Charles) 2:35
20. Basin Street Blues (Williams) 2:47
21. One OClock Jump (Basie) 3:33
01. Time After Time (Cahn-Styne) 5:01
02. My Mans Gone Now (Gershwin-Heyward) 4:03
03. Blues Cha Cha (Jenkins) 3:14
04. Whats New? (Burke-Haggart) 4:55
05. Tranes Message (Jenkins) 4:25
06. Blues Waltz (Jenkins) 2:58
07. Ill Drown in My Own Tears (Glover) 5:10
08. Good Lil Man (Jenkins) 2:34
09. Big City (Jenkins) 2:45
10. I Love Paris (Porter) 2:11
11. Im Always Drunk in San Francisco (Wolf) 2:58
12. Kansas City (Leiber-Stoller) 3:20
13. A Long Way from St. Louis (Brooks-Russell) 2:15
14. City Blues (Jenkins) 4:15
15. A Rainy Day in L.A. (Jenkins) 2:30
16. Autumn in New York (Duke) 2:57
17. Chicago (Fisher) 2:32
18. Small Town (Camarata) 2:58
19. Memphis Tennessee (Berry) 2:33
20. Visit Me Today (Jenkins) 1:51
21. I've Got the Blues (What Shall I Do) (Jenkins) 2:05 *
(*) Bonus Track
Tracks #1-9, from the Orovox album "Marv Jenkins Arrives" (MG 1001)
Tracks #10-21, from the Reprise album "A Tribute to My People" (R9-6013)
Tracks #1-8, from the Reprise album "Good Little Man At the Rubaiyat Room" (R9-6077)
Tracks #9-20, from the album "Big City" (Palomar GS 34001)
Track #21 from the Palomar single 45-2208
Personnel on "Marv Jenkins Arrives":
Marvin Jenkins, piano; Bob Martin, bass; and Jack Dean, drums.
Recorded in Los Angeles, 1960
Personnel on "A Tribute to My People":
Marvin Jenkins, piano; Jack Bruce, bass; and Kenny Dennis, drums.
Recorded at United Studios, Hollywood, November 14 & 15, 1961
Personnel on "Good Little Man":
Marvin Jenkins, piano; Stanley Gilbert, bass; and Kenny Dennis, drums.
Recorded at United Studios, Hollywood, October 22, 1962
Personnel on "Big City":
In this album Marvin Jenkins used a different line-up for almost each song, with personnel and instrumentation ranging from quartet to octet, and the accompanying musicians alternating between them. Collective personnel includes: Marvin Jenkins (p, cl, vcl), Carmell Jones, Freddie Hill (tp), Buddy Collette (fl, ts), Clifford Scott (ts), Richard 'Groove' Holmes, Charles Kynard (org), Ray Crawford, John Gray (g), Al McKibbon, Lewis Large (b), Donald Dean, Frank Severino (d).
Recorded in Hollywood, January 1965
Marvin Jenkins, piano & vocals, with unknown, bass and drums.
Recorded in Hollywood, 1965
Original recordings produced by Gil Fuller (Orovox),
Neal Hefti & Chuck Sagle (Reprise) and Salvador Camarata (Palomar)
Compiled for CD release by Jordi Pujol