- Beautiful Jazz: A Private Concert
- Artist: Christian Jacob
- Format: LP
- Release Date: 6/1/2014
Limited Edition Vinyl (500) with FREE download card of CD. LP Recorded & produced entirely in analog Having contributed to more than fifty recordings Christian Jacob decided that it was finally time to focus on a project he'd been planning to do for years, a solo piano recording. "I thought it would be interesting to work on some of the music that initially drew me to jazz. 'Tea for Two' because it was the first song I learned to improvise on: 'My Romance,' 'I'm Old Fashioned' and 'One Note Samba' because they take me back to when I was first studying jazz at the Berklee College of Music. Then, there are a few iconic ballads like 'Body and Soul,' and 'How Long Has This Been Going On.' I didn't plan to record 'Giant Steps,' but I'm happy I did. It's that weird and beautiful tune that everyone tries to wrap their brain around. I also wanted to share an Etude by Stravinsky. Although I wanted to become a jazz musician, I always loved classical music, that's why I had to include this little gem by Stravinsky." ~ Christian Although Christian had always envisioned his first solo release to be on CD only, the creative momentum of the project inspired him to make a change of plans. As Christian recalls, "An extra surprise with this recording is that I got to release a vinyl LP. And out of respect for all the analog purists out there, we kept it 100% analog. It all started when I saw the painting for the CD cover and just knew it was meant to go on an LP jacket. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into (laughs) but we're really excited and proud of how both the CD and vinyl turned out." All About Jazz - Review "Beautiful Jazz: A Private Concert is Jacob's love letter to the genre that whisked him away from the waiting arms of the classical world. He tackles old favorites here, revisiting and/or revising some of the very material that drew him toward jazz in the first place. Jacob brings a sense of wonder to 'How Long Has This Been Going On?' tackles 'That's All' in seven, muses on 'My Romance,' and delivers an information-dense 'Surrey With The Fringe On Top.' Jacob also tips his cap to pianist Bill Evans with 'I'm Old Fashioned,' references his classical upbringing through Stravinsky's 'Etude No. 4 in F# Major,' and delivers a wonderful 'September Song' arrangement that's devoid of improvisation." "This whole program was recorded at a private concert at Zipper Hall in Los Angeles, with Jacob playing on a Hamburg Steinway Model D Grand. Both the scene and the instrument helped to shape this album, but it's Jacob who delivers on the promise of the title. Beautiful Jazz it is." Jazz Weekly - Review While he might be better known as the pianist in The Tierney Sutton Band, Christian Jacob has made some impressive music on his own. His latest release is from an intimate concert at Zipper Hall in Los Angeles in 2013, and it exudes taste and style. He's definitely got chops and technique, as he demonstrates on a lithe "Giant Steps" and a foreboding "Stravinsky's Etude No. 4 F# Minor." Most of the time, however, he gives hints of Schubertian romanticism as on the flowing "That's All", the winsome "My Romance" and gracious "Tea For Two." He can also deliver some impressionism a la Debussy on "Body and Soul" and delivers dainty snowflakes that dance on "How Long Has This Been Going On". A coy "Surrey With The Fringe On Top" is quite playful. Something Else Reviews.com (CD review) The intimacy of Keith Jarrett's The Köln Concert is what makes the 1975 such a tremendous experience, listen after listen. Regardless of the details, like whether or not he was playing on the "wrong piano," Jarrett's performance is about connecting the music to the listener. Much in the same way, pianist Christian Jacob's Beautiful Jazz: A Private Concert sees it's goal as joining the music to the listener. And much in the same way as The Köln Concert, intimacy is key. Recorded at Zipper Concert Hall in Los Angeles on a Hamburg Steinway Model D grand piano, a lovely instrument in it's own right. And the French pianist plays it with grace, which should be a given considering the Grammy-nominated artist's path thus far. Jacob was perhaps first noticed as pianist, arranger and co-leader with the Tierney Sutton Band. He branched out for a solo career that has included the Christian Jacob Trio, with Trey Henry and Ray Brinker featuring on the last three recordings. Beautiful Jazz strips away the history and awards to place Jacob and his piano in a room, concentrating on the lush lines and sophisticated phrasing that can only come from such closeness. Through the course of the album's 13 pieces, the listener really gets the sense that Jacob is comfortable walking down many different roads. Perhaps this comes from the pianist's history, with time spent at the Paris Conservatory with Pierre Sancan. He worked extensively under the classical umbrella, but a pull toward jazz music was seductive. Blame Take Five for that. Indeed, the Dave Brubeck influences are strong on Beautiful Jazz - especially in Jacob's refined sense of things. He rolls from standards to classical touches with flexibility and control, edging into a dynamic interpretation of the 7/4 "That's All" with just as much ease as his brilliant version of Igor Stravinsky's "Etude No. 4 F# Major." It's clear that Jacob aches for jazz music. He plays Coltrane's "Giant Steps" with the elation of a true fan, working through the countless chord changes without an ounce of trepidation. And his version of "Body and Soul," a ballad he first heard when played by Oscar Peterson, takes it's time to ripen. Jacob's Beautiful Jazz really does feel like a private concert. It draws a line between the nine-year-old boy who became hooked on Brubeck and the professional pianist with classical training, but it never loses step along the way. Jacob is as fervent as ever when it comes to this music and his great skill lies in his capacity to express that passion to his listeners. Audiophile Audition - Review Christian Jacob was born in France and his earliest musical education was at the prestigious Conservatoire Nationale Superieur de Musique in Paris. Once he discovered his love for jazz he moved to the U.S. where he studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and recently he has made Los Angeles his home base. After an extensive period when he was a much sought-after sideman for a variety of artists, and more recently releasing three self-produced trio albums, Jacob has issued this initial solo recital which captures this intriguing pianist at his contemplative best. Employing a songbook of American standards, coupled with two finger-challenging pieces, Jacob gives the Hamburg Steinway Model D grand a real workout. Jazz writer Steven Cerra has penned the following remarks about solo jazz piano playing: "Solo piano represents the ultimate challenge: the entire theory of music in front of a pianist in black-and-white with no safety net to fall into". It is clear from Jacob's mastery of the keyboard that no safety net is required. With an uncannily adroit technique and a deft touch Jacob starts off with a conventional reading of "How Long Has This Been Going On" but it is replete with classical touches that work well in the confines of the tune. On "That's All" which has been covered by many jazz musicians, Jacob ups the ante with a 7/4 time signature that works well and gives a different feeling to the tune. Showing his dexterity and classical knowledge Jacob rattles off Stravinsky's Etude No. 4 F-Sharp Major without a blink. It is clear that Jacob spent some time choosing the playlist as the compositions give him the occasion to demonstrate an interesting repertoire but also that it facilitates many facets of his musical expression. Although "Tea For Two" is an old chestnut, there are no cliches in the rendition proffered by Jacob. Bill Evans' playing created a strong impression on Jacob and he has taken two associated tunes " It Might As Well Be Spring" and "I'm Old Fashioned" to deliver contemporary musical journeys into the pieces . John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" has hamstrung many jazz players on a variety of instruments with it's tricky chord changes, but Jacob was undaunted and his execution was faultless. A thoughtful release filled with elegant solos.