Keyboard magazine typifies Christian Jacob as "Bill Evans meets Keith Jarrett meets Ravel", and that's probably the best encapsulation you'll ever read, nowhere more radically personified than in his reading of Surrey with the Fringe on the Top. However, I'd add in Oscar Peterson and Philip Glass as well. Jacob displays those beautiful cascades of notes Peterson was so adept at, but he also inserts a certain serial minimalism, a la Glass (whose Solo Piano should be in everyone's collection), when the avant-garde pokes its nose under the tent. That is to say: this guy holds a wide variety of influences, amalgamating them with beauty and precision, holding fast to no set genre but just and only music. Don't ask me to pigeonhole him, I can't do it.
There's a little secret in all that. Jacob started playing at age 4, classical training of course, but at age 9 heard Brubeck's Take Five and was blown sideways. He couldn't believe what was coming out of the radio. He went to the local music store to grab some of the world-famed pianist's work, and the clerk introduced him to Peterson as well. Whatever Dave hadn't scorched into Jacob's head, Oscar took care of the rest, and the young lad's course in life was decided. Once he'd understood the wide-open doors jazz and improv endowed upon a player, there was no going back to the stodgy old classical mode. Thank God for that in so many great players.
A Grammy nominated arranger, Jacob has performed and recorded with Miroslav Vitous, Benny Golson, Randy Brecker, Flora Purim & Airto Morerira, and a slew of others on over 50 recordings. He's come to understand all aspects of music-making, even to the point of ensuring that his debut, this CD, would be analogue-based for the purity of the sound (digital's more brittle and clips out transient overtones). Therefore, don't be too surprised when you run across John Coltrane in amongst all the Richard Rodgers, Johnny Mercer, and Tin Pan Alley greats. Jacob's take on Giant Steps is a strange mixture of upbeat cinematics, jazz flurries, and abstraction, short, to the point, and as though The Trane had met Brubeck for tea and 'tea', if you know what I mean. The result an interesting collision.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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