Monday, October 6, 2014

Christian Jacob, Beautiful Jazz, A Private Concert

Judging from how many post-Bill Evans, fully harmonic piano players' CDs I get regularly you would think that the style predominates today. Yet this is by no means a simple route to follow in the jazz piano world.

Today we have another pianist who owes something to the fully worked harmonic respellings that Bill Evans did so splendidly. Yet there is something much more at work here as well, although there may also be less of the rigorously respelled harmonics on a continual basis, perhaps. I refer to pianist Christian Jacob and his solo piano recital album Beautiful Jazz (Wilder Jazz 1401). Here we have Jacob attack twelve well-visited standards plus a version of Stravinsky's "Etude No. 4".

What sets Christian apart has to do with a lively rhythmic approach, a contrapuntal involvement of the left hand that is sometimes almost stride-like, only not in any predictable way.

He has a very concerted technique that has the sophisticated harmonics of post-Evansian style yet takes less of a block-chord approach (and of course later Evans got further away from that as well). But there is a nicely original rubato style happening with Jacob that takes him further afield. That is in part a Jarrettian trait too, but there is nothing all that similar going on between to the two players because Jacob takes it into his own realm.

Listen to the old potboiler "Tea For Two" and you hear stride roots, an almost Garnerian left hand but not in the lag-bounce Garner way.

I find this album quite refreshing. It's doing what's being done yet doing it in Christian Jacob's own way. That interests me and should interest you too if you are a piano-jazz hound.


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