Jack Wilkins

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Jack Wilkins
Birth nameJack Rivers Lewis
Born (1944-06-04) June 4, 1944 (age 76)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, educator
Years active1950s–present
LabelsMainstream, Music Masters, CTI, Chiaroscuro

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 ten. 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 Pass, Poll Winners by Barney Kessel, The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow, and Interpretations of Tal Farlow.[1]

While still in his teens, he worked as a guitarist in bands led by Les Elgart, Larry Elgart, Warren Covington, and Sammy Kaye.[2]

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.[1]

Wilkins has also worked with Kenny Barron, Frank Foster, Sonny Fortune, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Jimmy McGriff, Sal Nistico, Zoot Sims, Sonny Stitt,[2] Jack DeJohnette, Phil Woods, and the Brecker Brothers.[3]


As leader[edit]

  • Windows (Mainstream, 1973)
  • You Can't Live Without Out (Chiaroscuro, 1977)
  • Call Him Reckless (Music Masters, 1989)
  • Mexico (CTI, 1992)
  • Keep in Touch (Claves Jazz, 1995)
  • Alien Army (Music Masters, 1996)
  • Merge (Chiaroscuro, 1996) - recorded in 1977
  • Trio Art (Arabesque, 1998)
  • Bluesin (String Jazz, 1999)
  • Just the Two of Us with Gene Bertoncini (Chiaroscuro, 2000)
  • Heading North (String Jazz, 2001) with Jimmy Bruno
  • Reunion (Chiaroscuro, 2001)
  • Christmas Jazz Guitar (Mel Bay, 2002)
  • Until It's Time (Maxjazz, 2009)[4]

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Barth, Joe (2006). Voices in Jazz Guitar. Pacific, Missouri: Mel Bay. p. 444. ISBN 0786676795.
  2. ^ a b Yanow, Scott (2013). The Great Jazz Guitarists. San Francisco: Backbeat. p. 206. ISBN 978-1-61713-023-6.
  3. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Jack Wilkins". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Jack Wilkins | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Jack Wilkins | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 January 2018.

External links[edit]