Jazz Arts Dept.
Guitarist Jack Wilkins has been a part of the New York jazz scene for more than four decades. His flawless technique and imaginative chordal approach have inspired collaborations with Chet Baker, Sarah Vaughan, Bob Brookmeyer, and Buddy Rich, among many others. A native of Brooklyn, Jack began playing guitar at age thirteen. His mentors included Johnny Smith, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Bill Evans, Clifford Brown, and Freddie Hubbard.
Windows, his first album as a leader (Mainstream, 1973), also available in transcription published by Hal Leonard Publications, has been critically acclaimed as a dazzling, seminal guitar trio work.
Later recordings, including Merge, Mexico, Call Him Reckless, Alien Army, Keep in Touch, and Trioart, feature the Brecker Brothers, Eddie Gomez, Jack De Johnette, Al Foster, Phil Woods, Kenny Drew Jr., and many others. Project G7, a two-CD set tribute to Wes Montgomery, features peerless chordal creativity by Wilkins.
In recent years, Wilkins has played at many international festivals and with many jazz greats including Stanley Turrentine, Jimmy Heath, the Mingus Epitaph, 5 Guitars Play Mingus (primary arranger), and bassist Eddie Gomez.
A consummate accompanist, Wilkins has played and recorded with renowned singers Mel Tormé, Ray Charles, Morgana King, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, Manhattan Transfer, Nancy Marano, and Jay Clayton. Wilkins was awarded an NEA grant in recognition of his work and contribution to the guitar. He has been widely and prominently profiled in such publications as Guitar Player, Just Jazz Guitar, Downbeat, 20th Century Guitar, and Leonard Feather’s Jazz Encyclopedia. Recently Wilkins was invited to the Smithsonian Institution to be part of the Blue Guitars exhibit and appeared on the P.S. I. first live jazz Internet concert. He was also featured as part of the J.V.C. festival tributes to Johnny Smith, Tal Farlow, Herb Ellis, and Barney Kessel.
Wilkins lives in Manhattan and teaches at the New School and Manhattan School of Music. He was recently invited to judge the Monk Institute Guitar Competitions in Washington. He also conducts seminars and guitar clinics, both in New York and abroad. His latest CDs, Reunion and Heading North, and the video Café Benedetto are all currently available.
Manhattan School of Music faculty since 1984.