Jason Jenkins Trio
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Jason Jenkins Trio

Richmond, Virginia, United States | INDIE

Richmond, Virginia, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz Jazz


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"Jason Jenkins Plays Cole Porter CD Review"

Jason Jenkins is not only one of the most important jazz musicians based in Richmond, Virginia but a world class bassist and songwriter. His previous four recordings all contain examples of his originals but, on his new Cole Porter Songbook, he concentrates on giving strong support and contributing occasional solos to a set of seven standards composed by Porter.

Jenkins’ creative pianoless quartet also includes soprano-saxophonist Kevin Simpson, guitarist Alan Parker and drummer Devonne Harris, each of whom make strong contributions to the CD. In addition, there are two guest singers.

Cole Porter’s music has been interpreted a countless number of times through the decades, so it must have been a bit of a challenge to come up with fresh renditions, but Jenkins and his musicians succeed. Their program begins with “Love For Sale.” After a brief introduction by soprano and drums, Charles Darden takes his first of three vocals of the set. Simpson creates a passionate soprano solo, there are good spots for Parker and Jenkins, and the singer is highly expressive during the final half chorus.

“All Of You” became a standard in the jazz world in the 1950s after it was first recorded by Miles Davis. Singer Darden and Jenkins have their spots but it is the lively guitar playing of Parker that takes honors.

Each of the performers has their opportunities to star. On an instrumental version of “Night & Day,” Simpson has one of his strongest showcases of the date, bringing in the melody, stretching out in several spots, and trading off with drummer Harris. Throughout this performance, he shows that he has his own sound.

“I Love Paris,” which has a haunting vocal by Charles Darden, features excellent spots for Simpson and Parker with Jason Jenkins taking the intro and contributing a thoughtful solo.

Guitarist Alan Parker is in the spotlight throughout much of “Everything I Love.” He plays both the opening and closing melodies and has an extensive solo, with Simpson and Jenkins also having their say.

“What Is This Thing Called Love,” one of the most famous of all Cole Porter tunes, is given an unusual treatment. While Simpson’s soprano is often in the lead, this is primarily an ensemble performance with the musicians giving the piece a funky reggae-like rhythm that works perfectly at the medium-slow tempo.

Concluding this exploration of Cole Porter’s songbook is a version of “At Long Last Love” on which Sharon Rae North’s fine singing is in the forefront.

Each of Jason Jackson’s CDs are enjoyable and well worth hearing. His Cole Porter Songbook casts fresh light on decades-old songs and features each member of his quartet in prime form.

Scott Yanow,
Author of ten jazz books including Bebop, Trumpet Kings, Jazz On Record 1917-76 and Jazz On Film - Scott Yanow


Scenic Roots 2010
Synchronicity 2009
Just Hearsay 2008
Urban Vernacular 2007



Jason Jenkins is one of the premier bassist and group leaders on the Virginia jazz scene today. Musically he is known for huge sound, deep tone and the ability to keep audiences in any situation entertained. Born October 1, 1973 in Richmond, Virginia, Jason started listening to jazz with his father at an early age. His musical studies began at age 8 with an introduction to his favorite instrument, the string bass. Through school years, Jason performed on other instruments including trumpet, tuba and cello. Upon graduating Huguenot High School, Jason enrolled in Hampton University where he majored in jazz studies. There he learned jazz language from many other students who came from deeply enriched jazz cultures.
After college, Jason began puting in work as a sideman to many of the area's great musicians. Musicians Jason has accompanied include Frankie Avalon, Frank Foster, Rene Marie, Chris Calloway, The Four Aces and dozens more. The Jason Jenkins Group made it recording debute in 2009 with the album, Synchronicity featuring pianist Toru Dodo. 2010 saw the follow up recording Scenic Roots featuring Tenor Sax giant Charles Owens.
The Jason Jenkins Trio has been featured in several publications and has played in music venues nationwide. The group currently has a weekly residency, Saturdays at The Barrel Thief Cafe (Richmond, Virginia). 2012 Jason and jazz consort, Alan Parker launched 32 Bar Records, a record label dedicated to producing the works of regional jazz artists and showcase a variety of unsung talents from Virginia and beyond(32BarRecords.com). The label will feature Jason's 2012 release, The Cole Porter Songbook.