Jack Wilkins

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Jack Wilkins
Birth nameJack Rivers Lewis
Born (1944-06-04) June 4, 1944 (age 77)
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 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)
  • 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[edit]

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


  1. ^ a b 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.

External links[edit]