John Jenkins (jazz musician)

Jenkins in Central Park, NYC in 1992
(Photographer: Fitz Gitler)

John Jenkins (January 3, 1931 – July 12, 1993) was an American jazz saxophonist.

Jenkins initially studied clarinet in high school but switched to saxophone after six months on the instrument. He played in jam sessions led by Joe Segal at Roosevelt College from 1949-1956. He played with Art Farmer in 1955 and led his own group in Chicago later that year. In 1957 he played with Charles Mingus and recorded two albums as a leader. He played as a sideman with Johnny Griffin Donald Byrd, Hank Mobley, Paul Quinichette, Clifford Jordan, Sahib Shihab, and Wilbur Ware in the late 1950s and early 1960s, but essentially dropped out of music after 1962, aside from a few dates with Gloria Coleman.

After leaving the jazz world he worked as a messenger in New York and dabbled in jewelry; he sold brass objects at street fairs in the 1970s. After 1983 he began practicing again and playing live on street corners; shortly before his death he played with Clifford Jordan.


As leader

As sideman

With Teddy Charles

With Clifford Jordan

With Hank Mobley

With Paul Quinichette

With Sahib Shihab

With Wilbur Ware


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