J.M. Lloyd: ‘Jenkins, David’, The Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940, ed. J.E. Lloyd and R.T. Jenkins (London, 1959), 431
Jenkins, Edmund Thornton
(b Charleston, SC,9 April 1894; d Paris, 12 Sept 1926). American composer. He studied the clarinet, the piano and the violin at Atlanta Baptist College (now Morehouse College) where his teachers included Kemper Harreld. In 1914 he performed with his father’s ensemble, the Jenkins Orphanage Band, at the Anglo-American Exposition in London. He later enrolled at the RAM, where he studied the clarinet, piano and singing, and had composition lessons with Corder. His awards included an orchestral scholarship (1915–17), medals for singing, and clarinet and piano playing, and the Ross Scholarship (1919–21). He became an Associate of the RAM in 1921.
After working in British theatre orchestras and dance bands, employment that resulted in a number of recordings (1921), he moved to Paris. He continued performing and composing, and established the Anglo-Continental-American Music Press. Among his published works are songs, compositions for solo piano and orchestral works. Black musical culture is particularly evident in his jazz phrasing, for instance in the Folk Rhapsody for orchestra. His involvement with the Pan-African congresses of 1921 and 1923 was also influential. In 1923 he embarked on what was to be a disillusioning tour of America, an experience that introduced black theatrical elements into his compositional style. His manuscripts are held at the Center for Black Music, Columbia College, Chicago.