Christian Jacob

Born in Lorraine, France, Christian Jacob began playing classical music at age 4 and became immersed in the music of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, whose harmonic universe was influential on jazz. "I was 9 or 10 when I discovered jazz," Christian reminisces, "and the very first thing that appealed to me was the harmony, the chords”. “The first time I heard Oscar Peterson, I kept going to the store to order the part, of course I never received it; later, when I learned it was improvised, I couldn't believe it”. "I've always had perfect pitch, so I was known for hearing anything and knowing the notes. However, my training was not open to improvisation." It was "learn the piece, and then interpret it," he says. "Even at that age they would basically interpret it for you. In retrospect that probably taught me what is the basic musical feel." Though studying classical music, the young pianist continued to play jazz "as a hobby"; he worked in combos in Lorraine, and began to develop a style. "Dave Brubeck was my first discovery," he has said, "then Oscar Peterson was a different dimension. I could hear his classical technique; his personality was there too. What he says, he means, and you can hear him having so much fun doing it." After graduating with “First Prize” from the Paris Conservatory Christian took the risk of going to America to study jazz. It was at Berklee that Christian shed a lot of his classical emphasis and concentrated nearly exclusively on jazz, on learning the art of improvisation and on developing his own personal style. While at Berklee Christian won a number of awards, including the Oscar Peterson Jazz Masters Award, the Great American Jazz Piano Competition and "Downbeat" magazine's distinction as Top Collegiate Jazz Soloist. After graduating Christian took a teaching position at Berklee, but gave that up when the opportunity came along to tour with Maynard Ferguson. After leaving Maynard Ferguson’s band Christian quickly began performing and recording with many of today’s jazz legends: Flora Purim and Airto Moreira, Randy Brecker, Miroslav Vitous, and Bill Holman to name just a few. By the mid 1990’s Christian had teamed up with vocalist Tierney Sutton, drummer Ray Brinker and bassist Trey Henry to form the Tierney Sutton Band. Later, a second bassist, Kevin Axt joined the group. The band became known for its sophisticated, refreshing arrangements, and the obvious musical joy they felt when playing together. As co-leaders, they developed into a tightly knit group. In addition to receiving five Grammy nominations for his work with the Tierney Sutton Band, Christian released three more outstanding trio recordings with Trey Henry and Ray Brinker. After contributing to more than 50 recordings Christian decided that it was finally time to focus on a project he’d been pondering for years, a solo piano recording: “Beautiful Jazz: A Private Concert. painting: Joe Lacey
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