Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Christian Jacob's Beautiful Jazz: A Private Concert

Raised as a classical pianist, exposure to Dave Brubeck’s Take Five at the age of 9, turned Christian Jacob onto jazz. The pianist continued studying classical piano (he studied at the Paris Conservatory) but after finishing these studies he attended Berklee where he studied and played with Herb Pomeroy, Phil Wilson, Hal Crook, and Gary Burton amongst others. He is perhaps best known for being co-leader, arranger and pianist with the Tierney Sutton Band. He has also performed with (amongst others) Maynard Ferguson (who produced his first albums), Flora Purim and Airto Moreira, Randy Brecker, Miroslav Vitous, Benny Golson and Bill Holman. Now he has produced his first solo piano recording, Beautiful Jazz: A Private Concert, (Wilder Jazz) with his renditions of thirteen timeless standards.

This was recorded in Los Angeles at the Zipper Concert Hall on a Hamburg Steinway Model D Grand, although without a live audience and the sound is wonderful, although one may need to listen on headphones, or turn up the volume, to hear all the nuances of Christian Jacob’s playing. It goes without saying that he brings considerable technique to his interpretations of such songs as How Long Has This Been Going On, That’s All, It Might As Well Be Spring, Tea For Two, One Note Samba, Body and Soul and Giant Steps, along with Stravinsky’s Etude No. 4 F# Major. This latter number might be the simple best example of his piano technique while the other performances display his lyricism and thoughtful improvisations with the performances of That’s All, My Romance, Tea For Two, One Note Samba, and Giant Steps standing out, along with remarkable interpretations of Body and Soul and September Song.

Beautiful Jazz is an appropriate title as this is an album full of fresh, thoughtful, and lovely interpretations of the standards heard here.

I received my review copy from a publicist. While not a solo performance, here is Christian Jacob playing in his trio.

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