Christian Jacob, piano – Beautiful Jazz – a private concert [TrackList follows] – Wilder Jazz audiophile vinyl 1401 [6/1/14] ****:
Grammy-nominated pianist and arranger Christian Jacob is heard on this all analog limited edition vinyl which is his first solo piano recording for the Wilder Jazz label; he has done three previous releases for them featuring his trio. It comes with a card allowing the purchaser to down the whole album plus three more tracks which space didn’t allow including on this LP.
French pianist Jacob began classical studies at age four and later prepared for international classical piano competitions such as the Van Cliburn. At age nine he heard Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” on the radio and then someone played an Oscar Peterson recording for him. He was blown away and wanted to learn how to improvise. He later left France and studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He learned from musicians like Herb Pomeroy and Gary Burton.
Jacob first got wide exposure as co-leader, aranger and pianist with the Tierney Sutton Band, and made eight CDs with them. He arranged and conducted around the world, and has contributed to over 50 recordings. He has performed and recorded with such jazz legends as Airo Moreira, Randy Brecker, Miroslav Vitous, Benny Golson and Bill Holman.
He had planned for years to do a solo piano recording, and this is it. It includes some of the tunes which originally drew him to jazz. He also includes a classical Etude by Stravinsky. Some, such as his arrangement of Kurt Weill’s “September Song,” are completely written out with no improvisation. He tackles Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” partly because so many musicians have discovered they can’t improvise on it. The cover painting of Christian and his piano is excellent and looks so much better than it would on a CD.
I must listen to this vinyl again. The piano sound is lovely and Jacob’s arrangements and improvisations are fine, but somehow they often just don’t quite swing like Peterson and many other jazz pianists—even some which came out of a classical background.
TrackList:Side A – How Long Has This Been Going On? That’s All It Might as Well be Spring Stravinsky: Etude No. 4 in F Sharp Major My Romance Side B – Surrey with the Fringe on Top Body and Soul September Song Giant Steps Till the Clouds Roll By