非常感谢我们在中国的读者 Fēicháng gǎnxiè wǒmen zài zhōngguó de dúzhě
Health and Happiness to Our Readers in Japan
日本の読者への健康と幸福 Nippon no dokusha e no kenkō to kōfuku
Health and Happiness to Our Readers in Russia
здоровья и счастья нашим читателям в России zdorov'ya i schast'ya nashim chitatelyam v Rossii
Many Thanks to Our Readers in Ukraine
велике спасибі velyke spasybi
Health and Happiness to Our Readers in Germany
Gesundheit und Glück für unsere Leser in Deutschland -
Health and Happiness to Our Readers in France
la santé et le bonheur de nos lecteurs en France -
Many Thanks to Our Readers in Poland
Much like the Universe, the miracle of Jazz lies in its variety. Hearing Jazz played by one musician or by one group is just that; hearing Jazz played once. Jazz is infinite and only falls into two, broad categories: good Jazz and bad Jazz. We only feature the former on JazzProfiles.
What little of value or interest it may contain, this blog is my gift to my friends.
Christian Jacob: A Jazz Pianist, Composer and Arranger of Distinction
“Descriptive words such as ‘virtuoso’ and ‘genius’ are not words I easily throw around. When I first heard Christian Jacob I knew right away his potential for deserving those words and certainly after his tenure with my band I was sure of it!”
- Maynard Ferguson
Every so often, we have a good idea.
Like the time that we suggested to pianist Christian Jacob that he consider doing a recording of the music of the late French pianist, Michel Petrucciani.
Nobody plays Michel’s music; it’s too difficult, let alone, too idiosyncratic.
But in my heart I knew that if anyone could make a success out of attempting it, Christian would be the one and he would make his own statement in the process. He’s too much of a musician and too wonderful a human being not to succeed with a musical exposition honoring the memory of Michel.
After taking a step back to make sure that I wasn’t trying to be cute with some kind of trite idea centered around French Jazz pianist [Christian was born in Metz] plays the music of another French Jazz pianist [Michel was born in Orange], Christian was kind enough to indulge me with a listening of Petrucciani’s music. – which he had never heard!
He and his wife Wilder were at our house for dinner so while it was being prepared by my kind and generous wife, up we went to my study where I played him Michel’s medley of Thelonious Monk’s medley of I Mean You and ‘Round Midnight from the Michel Petrucciani Au Théâtre des Champs Elysées Dreyfus CD [FDM 36570-2].
Christian is not a wordy guy, After intently absorbing all that was on offer in Michel’s 12 minute and 37 second performance, he looked up at me and said: “Sure, Let’s give it a try.”
What guts – oops, I mean - sang-froid!
Most guys would have looked at me and said something to the effect of “Are you crazy? Nobody but Michel can play on these tunes.”
But not Christian; not when there is a challenge to be met. This from one of the quietest, kindest and unpretentious people on the planet. But put him on a piano bench and he becomes a tenacious tiger.
To make a long story, short, I grouped together a bunch of Michel’s tunes and mailed them to Christian.
For a variety of reasons, it took some time for it all to come together, but the result was the issuance in 2006 of Christian’s self-produced Contradictions: A Look at the Music of Michel Petrucciani. [Christian has his own website should you wish to locate information about ordering the CD].
It was worth the wait as the quality of Christian musical tribute to Michel exceeded my expectations.
Christian allowed me the honor of writing the following introduction to the album:
“With the death of Michel Petrucciani on the night of January 5th 1999 at the ridiculously young age of 36, Francis Marmande wrote in La Chambre d'Amour:
‘If the death of a musician touches us in a special way, it is because they take their secrets with them — the secret of their unique musical sound, the secret of their precise relation to space, air and the movement of their bodies that they alone knew how to produce.’
Many of the "secrets" that made Michel and his music so distinctive live on in his legacy of recordings. However, for those intent on trying to unlock the essence of his musical uniqueness, there are perhaps keys contained in the body of Michel's original compositions left largely unexplored since his passing — until now.
In Christian Jacob, Michel may have found a fellow countryman and kindred spirit who, through his exploration of Michel's tunes, offers some fresh insights into Petrucciani's genius while also revealing his own brilliance.
Such a voyage of discovery is not for the faint of heart. For not only are the compositions difficult to navigate, but Michel himself had become such an authoritative and powerful player by the time of his death that Christian and the trio would be pressed to add to their richness and complexity.
As you will hear in this recording, through his musical courage, strength and originality, Christian has more than met this challenge. Assisted and inspired by Trey Henry on bass and Ray Brinker on drums, Christian and the trio have created a sparkling homage to Michel.
Into the ‘... space, air and movement in time’ created by the texture and tone of Michel's compositions, Christian has interposed a vitality and an inventiveness that serve to bring alive Michel's music once again while at the same time making it his own.
It is almost as though Michel had left this music behind for Christian to find and, in so doing, create a bond of musical affection between them. After all, ultimately, our immortality is contained in the memory of others.”
Here are Christian’s introductory notes to the recording:
“Thanks To Steven, for coming up with the original idea for this CD. You were the first to hear its potential. To Dom [Camardella, recording engineer], for being such a perfect pro at what you do. To Michael [Gottlieb, photographer], for those great moments you are able to capture on film. To Jenny [Keresztes], you're the best, your graphic art is always so perfect for my projects. … To Trey [Henry], for being the "road less traveled" bassist, and I mean that in every way. To Ray [Brinker, drummer], for being yourself, your ability to fuse this trio together is astounding. To Tierney [Sutton, vocalist], for your never ending support. To Wilder [Jacob], for being my light. I am so aware of your partnership, and how this project wouldn't be without you. I love you! And finally, To Michel, for coming around this earth of ours and showing me how things are done around here; I feel so close to your music, I just wish I had known you personally. Merci mon ami!”
Gene Lees wrote this overview of Christian’s early years in music through to his 1990s association as a pianist and musical director for trumpeter Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau orchestra.
“Christian Jacob started studying piano at the age of four and a half. His father, a jeweler who played piano part-time, gave Christian a book of old songs, including some of George Gershwin's. Christian was immediately fascinated by the harmony.
He won first prize in piano performance at the Conservatoire National de Region in his native Metz in 1970, when he was twelve years old. In 1978, at the age of twenty, he took the same prize at the Conservatoire National Superieur in Paris. ‘I was always into jazz,' Christian says, ‘and I was playing jazz for recreation, though my teachers at the Conservatory didn't like it and were telling me not to do it. I was interested in it really very early.’ After graduating from the Conservatoire, he went home to teach piano in his old school in Metz. Then he went to the Berklee College of Music, where he took a degree in professional music magna cum laude. He won the Joe Zawinul Jazz Masters Award at Berklee in 1985, and in 1986 the Oscar Peterson Jazz Masters Award. He then joined the staff of the college, teaching piano there from 1986 to 1990.
A fellow student at Berklee was Wilder Ferguson, one of Maynard Ferguson's four daughters. She was studying voice. In 1984 Christian gave her a tape to give to Maynard, who was impressed by it — so much so that he began to use Christian on the road in a quintet. Meanwhile, relations with Wilder Ferguson were growing closer, and in October 1989 she and Christian were married. Soon after that they moved to California where Christian became musical director and arranger for May-nard's Big Bop Nouveau Band.
Christian has also worked with Michael Brecker, Eddie Gomez, Steve Gadd, Peter Erskine, John Abercrombie, and Benny Carter, and toured extensively with Gary Burton, who recorded some of Christian's compositions.” [Jazz Lives: 100 Portraits in Jazz, p. 184].
More information about the last decade or so of Christian’s career are available on his website. The highlights include his long association with Jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton, performing and writing for both the Bill Holman and Carl Saunders big bands, and fronting his trio on record and in concert and club appearances.
Equally important to who he is and where he works as a Jazz musician is the fact that Christian has continued to grow and develop as a person of quality, both in terms of his music and in terms of his character.
As Louis Armstrong once said: “Jazz is who you are.”
Christian Jacob’s qualities as a person of skill, substance and sensitivity radiate through his music.
Merci, mon ami. The world is a richer place because of who you are, Christian.
The audio track on the following video tribute to Christian was recorded during his trio’s January 29, 2006 performance at George Klabin’s Rising Jazz Stars Foundation in Beverly Hills, CA. The tune is Michel Petrucciani’s Brazilian Suite No. 1
Christian and the trio, Trey Henry on bass and Ray Brinker on drums, would go into Sound Design Studios in Santa Barbara, CA the following day to conclude their recordings for the Contradictions tribute CD to Michel that began on December 30, 2005 and January 17, 2006, respectively.
Doug Ramsey of Rifftides on JazzProfiles
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A Paul Desmond Playlist
Writing About Jazz
Why is there so much written about Jazz? Why do writers - even blog writers, like me - feel compelled to weigh in on the subject? As with love, the topic is inexhaustible because it feels like personal property to everyone who holds the music dear. As with love, there is always something new - something original, something crucial - to add to the conversation. [With apologies and gratitude to Susan Perabo]
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Jazz Writers and Critics
Over the years, the "editorial staff" at JazzProfiles has benefited from the knowledge and opinions of a whole host of learned and informed Jazz writers and critics. Whenever possible, "we" attempt to repay this debt of gratitude by featuring their work on the blog. It’s our small way of thanking those whose writings have enriched our appreciation of the music and its makers.
A Note of Appreciation
"I am always amazed by the fact that intelligent people with better things to do offer me their time and expertise." Martin Cruz Smith, Three Stations, p. 243.
The "editorial staff" at JazzProfiles echoes this sentiment and wishes to express its gratitude to all those who assist with and contribute to its efforts in hosting this blog.
The Drums in Jazz
"The basis of Jazz has always been rhythmic. The development of jazz and its innovation from the early days of ragtime at the turn of the century to the many highly sophisticated, exciting and challenging styles of jazz that can be heard today, has always derived from that basis. In the European concert tradition, the drums serve as a noise-making device, aiming to create additional intensity or dramatic fortissimo effects. They do not effect the continuity of the music and could even be left out without creating the breakdown of a Beethoven or a Tchaikovsky symphony. In Jazz the drumbeat is the ordering principal which creates the space within which the music happens. The beat of a swinging drummer forms the basis of the musical continuity of a jazz performance." - Introduction to the Properbox set - THE ENGINE ROOM: A History of Jazz Drumming from Storyville to 52nd Street."
“Jazz musicians are their music … the music can’t be subtracted; it’s the defining essence which sets musicians apart and makes them special and ultimately mysterious.” – Richard Sudhalter
Scott DeVeaux - Some Thoughts on the Transitory Nature of Jazz
“… many individual lives in jazz—in American culture—are unsatisfying and incomplete, even tragic. For every Dizzy Gillespie, basking in later years in the autumnal glow of a life well led, there is a Charlie Parker, leaving behind a tangle of unfulfilled ambition. Coleman Hawkins's story reminds us that jazz itself is unfinished business, undergoing the painful process of outliving its own time and watching its social and aesthetic meanings drift into new, unfamiliar formations as the original context for its creation disappears. As Gary Taylor has recently argued [Cultural Selection, 1996], cultural memory begins with death: the death of the creator. The search for meaning is left to the survivors. It is up to us to decide how to tell the story, how best to represent the struggle and achievement of artists whose lives belong to the past but whose music continues to live in the present. In the process, we will decide what "jazz" will mean in the century ahead.” [p. 450]
"The thing you need most to play this music is concentration." - Bud Shank
"The hardest thing about this music is getting it from the head into the hands."
"Jazz is only what you are." - Pops
Here at JazzProfiles, we make every effort to memorialize or honor those who have given us pleasure in the music and those whose writings have taught us more about it
Gary Giddins - "Rhythm-a-ning"
"My intuition tells me that innovation isn't this generation's fate...the neoclassicists have a task no less valuable than innovation: sustenance. [M]usicians such as Marsalis are needed to restore order, replenish melody, revitalize the beat, loot the tradition for whatever works, and expand the audience. That way we'll be all the hungrier for the next incursion of genuine avant-gardists..." (161)
Alain Gerber - "Portraits En Jazz"
"En Jazz comme alleurs, le plus difficile ne se distingue pas du plus simple: c'est de jouer comme on respite." "With Jazz as with anything else, the most difficult and the easiest are one and the same; the whole thing is to play as your breath." [translation by F. Le Guilloux]
Remembering Gene Lees: 1928-2010
"In the past few years, I have been only too aware that primary sources of jazz history, and popular-music history, are being lost to us. The great masters, the men who were there, are slowly leaving us. I do not know who said, "Whenever anyone dies, a library burns." But it is true: almost anyone's experience is worth recording, even that of the most "ordinary" person. For the great unknown terrain of human history is not what the kings and famous men did — for much, though by no means all, of this was recorded, no matter how imperfectly — but how the "common" people lived. When Leonard Feather first came to the United States from England in the late 1930s, he was able to know most of his musical heroes, including Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. By the end of the 1940s, Leonard knew everybody of significance in jazz from the founding figures to the young iconoclasts. And when I became actively involved in the jazz world in 1959, as editor of Down Beat, most of them were still there. I met most of them, and became friends with many, especially the young Turks more or less of my own age. I have lived to see them grow old (and sometimes not grow old), and die, their voices stilled forever. And so, in recent years, I have felt impelled to do what I can to get their memories down before they are lost, leading me to write what I think of as mini-biographies of these people. This has been the central task of the Jazzletter."
What Heaven Looks Like to a Drummer
Something To Think About
"Writers about jazz are often notable for an ill-concealed jealousy and a sullen conviction that they alone know anything about the subject, that it is or should be their exclusive domain." - Gene Lees
The Piano in Jazz
"At the turn of the century-before the age of radio, television, high-fidelity recording, and computerized video games-the piano was one of the focal points of American family life in the home. The image of Mother seated at the keyboard with the children gathered around her and Father in his pinstriped shirt and suspenders looking on proudly epitomized the American dream. White American families purchased moderately priced "uprights" at the rate of nearly 250,000 per year. In black family life the piano was one of the first major purchases made by those who could afford it. Although they were less likely than white families to own instruments, blacks frequently heard piano music in churches, which were the center of community life, or in the urban "tonks" and "juke" houses (the ancestors of the jukebox). Indeed, black pianists were largely responsible for the instrument's acceptance as "part of the family." The music they played and composed during the late 1890's, eventually known as ragtime, was a major source of the piano's popularity in the two decades that followed."
Noal Cohen - Jazz Historian and Discographer
Noal is the owner-operator of one of the best Jazz discographies out there and he's recently made some changes and additions to his website which you can checkout directly by clicking on the photo of him.
Search This Blog - Type in Name of Musician to Retrieve Previous Features Posted to the Blog
“In a way, the entire act of music is mind put into sound. It has to go through some sort of physical medium in order to be heard. I chose the saxophone, but the whole issue is to have such control over the instrument and over what you hear that the instrument physically doesn't get in the way of visualizing sound. Technique to me means dealing with an instrument in the most efficient manner possible so that it's no more than peripheral to expression." – Ralph Bowen
I could claim that like the age-old Chinese newspaper trick, I include typos intentionally so that you will read more closely to find them.
The fact is that I edit the entire site myself and the years are rolling by.
Please excuse any mistakes that you find on the blog and just let me know about them so that they can be corrected.
I'd appreciate it.
The "Editorial Staff" at JazzProfiles
Victor Feldman with Louis Hayes and Sam Jones
Our five-part feature on Victor Feldman is archived on AllAboutJazz. Please click on the image to be redirected to the AAJ site.
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Any and all aspects of the presentations, features and photographs as set forth on this website are protected under The Copyright Act of 1976, Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 107 and no portion of these copyrighted presentations, features and photographs may be used in any fashion without the expressed, written permission of Steven A. Cerra or the guest authors and photographers whose work appears on this site. At JazzProfiles, we frequently cite or include information from other authors or sources. When works are copyrighted, we attempt to secure permission from the author(s) or copyright owner whenever possible. If you are a copyright owner or author and believe your work is being displayed here without your express permission or consent, please contact the webmaster at JazzProfiles, and we will be happy to remove the work(s) from the site.
I started playing drums when I was 14 years old and was largely self-taught until I began taking lessons from Victor Feldman and Larry Bunker during my last year in high school. Through their connections, I ultimately found work in movie and TV soundtrack recording, doing jingles and commercials and subbing for both of them at jazz gigs in the greater L.A. area. I was a member of a quintet that won the 1962 Intercollegiate Jazz Festival held at The Lighthouse Cafe. Everyone in the group was also voted "best" on their instrument. Performed with the Ray and Leroy Anthony Big Bands and the Les and Larry Elgart Orchestras. I also worked with Anita O'Day at Ye Little Club in Beverly Hills, CA, with Juliet Prowse on a number of occasions in Las Vegas and with Frank Zappa on his 1963 film score for "The World's Greatest Sinner" which starred cult actor and director Timothy Carey.