Born in Chicago, composer and violinist Leroy Jenkins was one of the most important musicians to emerge from the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), the legendary collective of which he was a member until his death in 2007. Like many of the Association's members, Jenkins studied under the legendary Walter Dyett at DuSable High School, where he learned the alto saxophone.
He received a music degree (in violin) from Florida A&M University, where he studied composition and the classical masters of the violin. Subsequently, he taught music both in Mobile, Alabama (1961-5) and in the Chicago schools (1965-9). During the latter period, Jenkins joined the AACM. He made his first recording with Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, and Leo Smith in the sixties before achieving international acclaim in Paris along with Braxton, Smith, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. In 1970 Jenkins moved to New York, where he founded the Revolutionary Ensemble, the critically acclaimed ensemble which recorded 7 albums and toured North America and Europe.
When many of the AACM musicians left during 1969, Jenkins went to Europe with Anthony Braxton & Leo Smith. There, with drummer Steve McCall, they were called the Creative Construction Company. He also played with Ornette Coleman, whose house he & Braxton stayed at when they subsequently moved to New York City.
Playing with Taylor (1970) and Braxton (1969-72), he also worked with Albert Ayler, Cal Massey, Alice Coltrane, Archie Shepp & Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Between 1971-7, he played in his Revolutionary Ensemble, a trio featuring Sirone (Norris Jones) on bass & trombone, and drummer/pianist Jerome Cooper. Thereafter, he toured the US & Europe, led the Mixed Quintet (Jenkins and 4 woodwind players), a blues-based band called Sting, and again played with Cecil Taylor.