George Jenkins

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A bandleader in his own right and the creator of two albums under his own name in the '50s, jazz drummer George Jenkins was also known for his loyal service to jazz stars such as Lionel Hampton, Erroll…
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A bandleader in his own right and the creator of two albums under his own name in the '50s, jazz drummer George Jenkins was also known for his loyal service to jazz stars such as Lionel Hampton, Erroll Garner, Louis Armstrong, and Benny Carter. It was the energetically rhythm-fueled Hampton who gave Jenkins his first breaks in the early '40s, bringing the drummer back into his groups in the latter-half of that decade, as well. In between, Jenkins held forth with Lucky Millinder, and spent several years with Buddy Johnson's swing group. Jenkins began taking on leadership responsibilities beginning with a Detroit combo circa 1947. At that point, he was coming off the Charlie Barnet band. The drummer soon had an ensemble going that became a regular part of the program at the Metropole in New York City. In the spring of 1949 Jenkins spent a relatively brief time gigging with a special group called the Louis Armstrong All Stars. The arrival of a new decade meant a new location for Jenkins as well. He headed to California in the '50s and established himself as part of Carter's groups before working on his own ensemble projects. While some jazzmen languished in the '60s, Jenkins plugged away, leading groups on the West Coast, many of them simple and economic trios. He also picked up engagements in Las Vegas, his paradiddles competing with the sounds of roulette tumblers and groaning gamblers. His return to the Metropole in New York City during this decade showed the longevity of his concepts of a bandleader, a potential that was only scratched at in terms of discographical documentation.

Drum Stuff and Drum Magic were both originally issued in 1955 by the VSOP label, the titles misleading some customers into thinking these were sides spotlighting drum sounds, as in the work of Sandy Nelson or popular percussion stereo demonstration records. Credited to George Jenkins and His All Stars, these were actually solid quartet sessions in which experienced tenor saxophonist Plas Johnson and the rhythm section play a combination of jazz, rhythm and blues and rock & roll feels.