in the land we call jazz. NO! STOP! We don't want no more of that groovy dinner jazzy lounge piano soft-focus wide screen smooth talking tasteful jazz thang. Man, jazz gives me the blues! Jazz is the blues. Blues is the new jazz. After years of following the jazz rainbow Billy saw the light way back in the nineties and formed a blues band (the marvellous Blues Collective and then the recession proof Trio Blues Suburbia). Adding a vocal element to his music allowed Billy to confront those perennial blues issues: dogs (he don't like 'em), parents (ditto), tea (very much in favour), Cliff Richard (no position at all really but he did meet him once) and the Duke (just can't get enough). So maybe moving away from jazz brought him back to a renewed appreciation of those hoary old numbers we all love to hate and an understanding that the blues underpins jazz. Whatever, here we have a Billy Jenkins album of standards (OK, so that's like a Lady Gaga guide to comfy cardigans but there we go). Just to contextualise, the album kicks off with a homage to the ultimate in 50s hipness - the Hammond organ trio - yes, in the Jimmy Smith corner Mr Jimmy Watson (not playing Hammond) and in the Grant Green corner the heavy weight guitar string champion of the world, let's hear it for Mr B Jenkins Esq.! Mike Pickering's in the drum seat (he makes up the last third of the Trio Blues Suburbia) and guest soloist and Jenkins novice, lauded and award winning altoist and flautist Finn Peters rocks in with a bluesy chorus or two and some kissing noises. Billy takes these old jazz standards and does unmentionable things to them, lyrically and musically metamorphosing them into something new and strange - reinterpreting the hackneyed old images, injecting anger where anger never was, blueing the jazz. The guitar, that guitar, still strikes like lightning, illuminating as it incinerates, but the emphasis here is on mood - a fifties late night mood for a fifty-somethin' guitarist.
An intensely, joyously visceral, up-against-the-wall album, and one of Jenkins' recent best. -- Chris May, All About Jazz, June 26th, 2011
Billy Jenkins is a joker. He takes the mickey - not out of jazz but out of jazz cliches... My favourite track is "I'm Just a Lucky So-And-So", with Mr Jenkins essaying a vocal-guitar unison which comes out sounding like George Benson on acid." -- Dave Gelly, The Observer, July 17th, 2011
Droll and disgruntled, Billy Jenkins delivers his malcontent blues with a pantomime snarl and a guitar that stutters and gets entangled by the sheer force of splenetic ire. -- Mike Butler, Manchester Evening News, July 3rd, 2011
The musical equivalent of Duchamp's moustachioed Mona Lisa. -- Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast, August 16th, 2011
The very definition of 'alternative' is his music and conception. -- Julian Joseph, Jazz Line Up, BBC Radio 3, August 21st, 2011