| News |

RIP Leroy

At least he had chicken.
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Leroy Jenkins is dead.

No, not Leeroy Jenkins with a double "ee," the World of Warcraft video game character who's achieved global celebrity as described in the story "The Legend of Leeroy Jenkins." This is the real, flesh-and-blood Leroy Jenkins, an individual famous in his own right — though these days probably not as famous as the bunch of computer pixels that almost shares his name.

Leroy Jenkins, who died of lung cancer on February 24 at age 74, was, according to JazzTimes magazine, "arguably the most pivotal free-jazz violinist of the '60s." The Chicago native helped found the short-lived yet highly influential 1970s improvisational group Creative Construction Company and then led the celebrated free jazz trio Revolutionary Ensemble. More recently, Jenkins helped composed well-regarded music-theater works including The Mother of Three Sons, Fresh Faust and The Negros Burial Ground.

As JazzTimes puts it,

Stuff Smith, Eddie South and Joe Venuti may have pioneered jazz violin, but Jenkins was responsible for injecting avant-garde ideas (such as sawing, use of distortion, atonality, string bending and plucking) into the instrument and expanding its vocabulary.

It sounds like Leroy Jenkins was known for charging headfirst and alone into unnamed musical territory. Dare we say it? Leroy Jenkins, may he rest in peace, wasn't afraid to pull a Leeroy Jenkins. — Joel Warner

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.