Jack Wilkins Biography

American jazz guitaristFor the Irish footballer, see Jack Wilkins (footballer).Musical artist

Jack Rivers Lewis (born June 4, 1944), known professionally as Jack Wilkins, is a jazz guitarist.


A native of New York City, Wilkins grew up listening to his parents' music, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Billie Holiday. He started playing guitar when he was thirteen. He had an older cousin who played albums for him by Charlie Christian, Tal Farlow, Django Reinhardt, and Johnny Smith. He cites Smith's Designed for You as one of the albums that meant the most to him, in addition to Sounds of Synanon by Joe P*, Poll Winners by Barney Kessel, The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow, and Interpretations of Tal Farlow.

While still in his teens, he worked as a guitarist in bands led by Les Elgart, Larry Elgart, Warren Covington, and Sammy Kaye.

He also worked with Dan Armstrong, Lew Soloff, Lew Tabackin, and Lloyd Wells. In his twenties, he worked as a vibraphonist. He formed the band The Jazz Partners and played vibes with pianist Barry Manilow, who admired the work of Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, and Barney Kessel. Wilkins and Manilow arranged songs from Kessel's albums for their group. A copy of his first solo album, Windows (Mainstream, 1973), found its way into the hands of Buddy Rich's manager. Wilkins then became a member of the Buddy Rich septet.

Wilkins has also worked with Kenny Barron, Frank Foster, Sonny Fortune, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Jimmy McGriff, Sal Nistico, Zoot Sims, Sonny S*t, Jack DeJohnette, Phil Woods, and the Brecker Brothers.


As leader

  • Windows (Mainstream, 1973)
  • You Can't Live Without It (Chiaroscuro, 1977)
  • Merge (Chiaroscuro, 1977)
  • Captain Blued (CTI, 1983)
  • Opal (CTI, 1983)
  • Call Him Reckless (Musicmasters, 1989)
  • Alien Army (Musicmasters, 1991)
  • Mexico (CTI, 1992)
  • Keep in Touch (Claves, 1996)
  • Trioart (Arabesque, 1998)
  • Bluesin (String Jazz, 1999)
  • Just the Two of Us with Gene Bertoncini (Chiaroscuro, 2000)
  • Heading North (String Jazz, 2001)
  • Reunion (Chiaroscuro, 2002)
  • Christmas Jazz Guitar (Mel Bay, 2004)
  • Dear Old Stockholm (NHV, 2008)
  • Until It's Time (Maxjazz, 2009)
  • Constellation with the Struggles All Stars (Progressive, 2010)
  • The Rundle Sessions (Chronograph, 2019)

As sideman

With Nancy Harrow

  • Anything Goes (Audiophile, 1979)
  • Two's Company (Inner City, 1984)
  • Winter Dreams (Artists House, 2003)

With Buddy Rich

  • Very Live at Buddy's Place (Groove Merchant, 1974)
  • The Bull (Chiaroscuro, 1980)
  • Tuff Dude (Denon, 1986)

With others

  • Chet Baker & Jim Hall & Hubert Laws, Studio Trieste (CTI, 1982)
  • Peter Bernstein, We Remember Tal (J-Curve, 1999)
  • Bob Brookmeyer, The Bob Brookmeyer Small Band (Gryphon, 1978)
  • Bubba Brooks, Polka Dots and Moonbeams (TCB, 2002)
  • Jay Clayton, In and Out of Love (Sunnyside, 2010)
  • Chris Connor, I Walk with Music (HighNote, 2002)
  • Albert Dailey, The Day After the Dawn (Columbia, 1972)
  • Sonny Fortune, Serengeti Minstrel (Atlantic, 1977)
  • Astrud Gilberto, That Girl from Ipanema (Image, 1977)
  • Lionel Hampton, Hamp's Blues (LRC, 1986)
  • Julius Hemphill, Julius Hemphill Big Band (Elektra Musician, 1988)
  • Earl Hines, Swingin' Away (Black Lion,)
  • Paul Jeffrey, Watershed (Mainstream, 1973)
  • Morgana King, Everything Must Change (Muse, 1979)
  • Morgana King, Higher Ground (Muse, 1980)
  • Amy London, Bridges (FiveCut, 2014)
  • The Manhattan Transfer, Swing (Atlantic, 1997)
  • Barry Miles, Barry Miles (Poppy Music, 1970)
  • Charles Mingus, Me Myself an Eye (Atlantic, 1979)
  • Charles Mingus, Something Like a Bird (Atlantic, 1980)
  • Mingus Big Band, I Am Three (Sunnyside, 2005)
  • Sal Nistico & Kenny Barron & Anthony Jackson & Buddy Rich, Transition (Groove Merchant, 1974)
  • Jonathan Schwartz, Alone Together (Muse, 1977)
  • Dave Tofani, Nights at the Inn (SoloWinds, 2007)
  • Pete Yellin, It's the Right Thing (Mainstream, 1973)


    External links

    • Official site