Arthur Jenkins (musician)
Arthur Eugene Jenkins, Jr. (December 7, 1936 – January 28, 2009) was an American keyboardist, composer, arranger and percussionist who worked with many popular music icons such as John Lennon, Harry Belafonte, Bob Marley and Chaka Khan.
Jenkins was born in The Bronx, New York, and began playing piano at the age of 5. After studying music at Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio, Jenkins returned to New York and began his professional career. He played for two years at a club called Blue Moracco. The first year was with a singer named Irene Reid and the second was with a new singer from Ohio named Nancy Wilson.
Next began a 9-year collaboration as musical director and accompanist to singer Johnny Nash, which included Nash's 1972 smash "I Can See Clearly Now". While with Nash, Jenkins traveled to Jamaica where he also worked on recording projects with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.
Jenkins had now become a much sought-after studio musician, and soon was the arranger for Harry Belafonte, with whom he also recorded and toured. He worked in the same capacity for Patti Austin and Lena Horne, who were co-performers on Belafonte's tours.
Jenkins then joined Antisia Publishing (co-owned by Ralph MacDonald and William Salter), and forged a lifelong friendship and musical partnership with MacDonald, which led to more hit recordings like "The Hustle" with Van McCoy, "Where Is the Love" with Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway and "Just The Two of Us" with Grover Washington, Jr. and Bill Withers.
Jenkins was brought to the attention of John Lennon by May Pang, production coordinator for many albums by Lennon and Yoko Ono. Pang booked Jenkins for Ono's Feeling The Space album, and Lennon, who was about to record his Mind Games album, asked Pang to retain him for that session. Jenkins played on all subsequent Lennon albums, including Walls and Bridges (for which he was awarded an RIAA gold record), Double Fantasy and the posthumous Milk and Honey. Lennon would jokingly credit Jenkins for "all the bells and whistles" on his records.
Jenkins also worked on Broadway theatre and lent his distinctive sounds to popular commercials for McDonald's, Chemical Bank and other products. He also released two CDs of his own material, Alone With Arthur and Alone With Arthur Again.
Jenkins died unexpectedly at his Manhattan apartment, aged 73.
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With Ron Carter
- Anything Goes (Kudu, 1975)
With Ronnie Foster
- The Two Headed Freap (Blue Note, 1972)
- Sonny Side Up (Verve, 1957)
With Rahsaan Roland Kirk
With Marlena Shaw
- From the Depths of My Soul (1973)
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