Leroy Jenkins (musician)

  (Redirected from Leroy Jenkins (jazz musician))

Leroy Jenkins (March 11, 1932[2] – February 24, 2007)[3] was an American composer and violinist/violist.

Leroy Jenkins
Jenkins in the 1980s
Jenkins in the 1980s
Background information
Born(1932-03-11)March 11, 1932
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedFebruary 24, 2007(2007-02-24) (aged 74)
New York City, U.S.
GenresContemporary classical music, Avant-garde jazz
Occupation(s)Composer, musician
InstrumentsViolin, Viola
Years active1960s–2007
LabelsIndia Navigation, Black Saint; Pi Recordings[1]
Associated actsAACM, Revolutionary Ensemble, Creative Construction Company

Early lifeEdit

Jenkins was born in Chicago, Illinois, United States.[2] He commenced playing the violin at a young age and, despite dabbling in trying to play other instruments, it was the violin for which he became best known.[2]

Operas and a cantataEdit

Mother of Three Sons, a dance-opera based on African mythology created in collaboration with choreographer/director Bill T. Jones and librettist Ann T. Greene. Commissioned by and premiered at the 1990 Munich Biennial New Music Theatre Festival (Hans Werner Henze, artistic director). Also performed by the New York City Opera (US premiere, 1991) and the Houston Grand Opera (1992).[4][5]

Fresh Faust, a jazz-rap opera in collaboration with librettist Greg Tate directed by Dominic Taylor. Performed at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art (1994).

The Negros Burial Ground, a cantata in collaboration with librettist Ann T. Greene and director Dominic Taylor. Presented by The Kitchen (1996) and workshopped at UMass Amherst (1995).[6][7]

The Three Willies, a multimedia jazz opera that explores the stereotype of Black men as "perpetual suspect". Created in collaboration with librettist Homer Jackson and choreographer Rennie Harris (Philadelphia show), director Talvin Wilks (New York show), and conductor/music director Alan Johnson (New York show). Premiered at The Painted Bride in Philadelphia (1996),[8] New York premiere at The Kitchen (2001). Public Panels were jointly organized with the New York University Vera List Center for Art and Politics[9] and a Digital Happy House on Race, Identity, and Media moderated by Christian Haye. Produced by Providence Productions International, Inc. with the support of Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Co-produced by The Kitchen.

Coincidents, a multimedia opera in collaboration with librettist Mary Griffin and visual artist Hisao Ihara. Jenkins and Griffin use incidents from their personal family histories to illustrate the fragility, flexibility, and resilience of individual identity. Performed at Roulette Intermedium in Brooklyn (2012).[10]


Jenkins died from lung cancer on February 24, 2007, in New York City, at the age of 74.[3]


As leader/co-leaderEdit

With the Revolutionary Ensemble

With othersEdit

With Muhal Richard Abrams

With Carla Bley

With Joe Bonner

With Anthony Braxton

With Thomas Buckner

With Don Cherry

With Alice Coltrane

With Creative Construction Company

With Anthony Davis

With James Emery

  • Artlife (Lumina Records, 1982, LP)

With Carl Hancock Rux

With Rahsaan Roland Kirk

With George E. Lewis

With Grachan Moncur III

  • Echoes of a Prayer (JCOA Records, 1974, LP)

With Paul Motian

With Mtume

  • Allkebu-Lan (Land of the Blacks) at the East (Strata East, 1972, 2LPs)

With Dewey Redman

With Jeffrey Schanzer

  • Vistas (Music Vistas, 1987, LP)

With Archie Shepp

With Alan Silva

With Cecil Taylor

With Henry Threadgill




Professional membershipsEdit



  1. ^ "Leroy Jenkins". Pirecordings.com. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Jazz (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 227/8. ISBN 0-85112-580-8.
  3. ^ a b "Obituary: Leroy Jenkins". The Guardian. 16 March 2007. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  4. ^ Southern, Eileen (1997). The Music of Black Americans: A History. ISBN 9780393038439.
  5. ^ Rockwell, John (May 25, 1992). "Munich Biennial and New Music: Different Drummer in a 3-Piece Suit". nytimes.com. A.G. Sulzberger. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  6. ^ "Leroy Jenkins". Fac.umass.edu. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  7. ^ Kasrel, Deni (November 21, 1996). "The Three Willies". Conjunctions.com. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  8. ^ "The Three Willies". Mycitypaper.com. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  9. ^ "The Vera List Center Racial Profiling: The Black Man as Perpetual Suspect". Veralistcenter.org. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  10. ^ ESProductions (January 5, 2012). "Coincidents a multi-media opera by Leroy Jenkins, Mary Griffin, Hisao Ihara Excerpts". Last.fm. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 11, 2021.

External linksEdit