Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Jenkins, Kathy (Kathleen Jean)
Jenkins, Kathy (Kathleen Jean), singer; b. St. Paul, MN, 2 December 1954. Her father is Jack Norman Jenkins (born 1923 St. Paul, MN) and her mother was Virgina Marie Naughter Jenkins (born 1926 St. Paul, MN, died 1993). Her siblings are Michael Jenkins (1950), Steven Jenkins (1951), Susan Jenkins (1953) and Timothy Jenkins (1956). She studied at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.
Jenkins grew up listening to her father's Irish tenor and her mother's torch versions of Judy Garland songs. She knew from the age of four that she wanted to sing, and her earliest "performances" were to construction workers in her neighborhood to coax them to buy from her lemonade stand! She joined her school choir, took guitar lessons, and sang along to Streisand records. She started folk singing in local clubs while still in high school, then joined a band singing top 40 and country rock. As a vocalist for the Air Force Band Jenkins started singing Broadway tunes and big band numbers, and she found she couldn't get enough. She honed her vocal style singing hundreds of concerts throughout the US and Europe, including a performance for then President Reagan. After four years in the Air Force Jenkins moved to New York. She studied at the American Musical & Dramatic Academy and performed with big bands such as Lynn Oliver's. In 1989 Jenkins took the step of owning and operating an off-Broadway theater -- The Gateway -- where she produced musical revues and staged readings. She also performed in many community and regional theaters in the New York area, particularly embracing the role of "The Beggar Woman" in Stephen Sondheim's musical, Sweeney Todd. While watching audition tapes of various musicians to accompany her on a singing engagement, Jenkins came across the tape of Nick Levinovsky. Jenkins hired him on the spot. Levinovsky, a noted jazz pianist/composer from Russia, "fell in love the minute he heard her sing." He hired her to perform with his 8 piece orchestra, wooing her with a shared love of each other's artistry. They married, and she performed with his jazz ensembles at international jazz festivals including a memorable 1992 Russian tour of Moscow, Saratov and St. Petersburg. They also put together a vocal nostalgia trio reminiscent of the Andrews Sisters for the 50-year World War II reunion at Atlantic City's Taj Mahal. The "G.I. Sweethearts" later performed at venues such as the Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC and Gateway National Parks & Recreation shows. She and her husband recently formed NLO, an orchestra / production / record company that has them involved in every aspect of the music business.
Nick Levinovsky: Listen Up! (1996); From This Moment On (1998); Nick Levinovsky: Kind of Red (1999); Swing Madness (2003)
Russian TV Network, Russia (1992); RTN - USA Russian Cable Station (1993-1998)
WBAI, WBGO, WNYC - NJ & NY; Public & University Radio Stations throughout the USA
1992-2002 About 20 Hours of Video Tapes from Concerts & Clubs, NYC
Numerous Local Newspapers & Magazines, USA