The Christian Jacob Trio “The Originals”
Christian Jacob – Piano, Trey Henry – Bass, Ray Brinker – Drums and The Calabria Foti String Ensemble (tracks 2,4,5,6,9,11,12,13)
7-time Grammy nominee Christian Jacob returns to the jazz trio setting with a captivating collection of original compositions. While it’s been ten years since Christian’s last trio recording, the French born pianist has devoted that time to some pretty exciting projects. Besides scoring two major motion pictures for director Clint Eastwood (“Sully” and “The 15:17 to Paris”) Christian released “Beautiful Jazz”, a tribute to the timeless, iconic standards that lead him to the world of jazz.
Now with “The Originals” Christian Jacob returns to the jazz trio setting with a captivating collection of all original compositions. Presented in a story-like fashion each selection draws the listener deeper into the trios’ musical wonderland. Playful, creative, grooving and performed with the extraordinary unity that The Christian Jacob Trio is known for. Joining Christian are longtime bandmates bassist Trey Henry and drummer Ray Brinker. While this recording is truly all about jazz trio, a beautifully orchestrated string section adds depth to 8 of the compositions. The graphic-novel-esque packaging and booklet includes a fantasy adventure story “The Originals” and illustrations by Elijah Henry. Released by: WilderJazz Distribution: Palmetto Records
How this project evolved:
“Well, this is the first time that I do a project that is 100% original music. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do so I’m very excited about it. You have Trey Henry on bass and Ray Brinker on drums and we’ve been together forever.
“We started out as a rhythm section in The Maynard Ferguson Big Band and after that became The Christian Jacob Trio. Over 30 years we’ve evolved in such a way, that collaboration is second nature. We are the same way in our other band, The Tierney Sutton Band. All three of us love finding new interpretations of what has been done before.
“My previous recordings were mainly standards but I had a growing desire to record an entire project of original works. So, I gathered some older compositions of mine and wrote some brand new ones, then put them in a suitable musical order. Looking at the strange or funny titles, I got the idea of connecting them through a story that would be called “The Originals”. We all loved the idea and the story practically wrote itself with titles like “The Shapeshifter” and “The Red Pig Flew Up The Hill”. So instead of the usual liner notes, it’s the music (and hopefully the story) conveying to the listener all the colors and emotions that we poured into this project.
“During the recording we were all amped-up because everything was going so well. The sound was great and I loved the piano and suddenly realized “Wow! I totally hear strings on some of these.” Not like some symphonic extravaganza, but something that would support the trio and give it some depth. This project is all about trio, but once I mentioned strings we all fell in love with the concept.
“I really feel that every track has something special to give away, so check it out. I hope you enjoy what we’ve done.” – Christian
Track 1: Opening with “The Red Pig Flew Up The Hill” was an unusual choice. I mean it’s not a big, in-your-face piece: however it sets up the humor and versatility of this recording. I believe every track is a gem, but a pig flying up the hill seemed like the coolest way to open.
Track 2: This fun composition titled “The Originals” was written with this specific trio in mind. Even though the meter is in 7/4 it right away felt obvious to each of us how to play our part. Instead of the usual bass solo we inserted a groovy little section with bass and drums playing off of each other.
Track 3: “Through Child’s Eyes” is a sweet ballad I wrote some 30 years ago. I hoped to capture the feelings I have when I witness purity and innocence. Trey Henry crafts the perfect solo and vibe for this piece.
Track 4: “Minor Damage” came out wonderfully dark and brooding. Vibe is everything in this piece. It is a little more compositional than usual, due to the separate section that emerges from silence. The bass solo uses that section. The sparseness and feel allowed us to move around inside and be a little theatrical.
Track 5: “The Shapeshifter” was a little tough to get into our fingers but once we had it we knew we could have fun with it. The simple little motif sits inside a not so simple time signature. Ray’s brilliant solo brought smiles to our faces. It fit so perfectly.
Track 6: “Gentle By Nature” I felt at peace when I wrote this. I used the strings to expand on that feeling.
Track 7: I wrote “Rolling and Shaking” in the 90’s. It moves with a fast driving swing and it’s a blast to play. I was thinking of the Northridge earthquake when I wrote this piece, but for this project it represents the magical transformative powers of one of our story characters, “The Shapeshifter.”
Track 8: “Secret Life” Here the title matches the intention: a private life filled with atmosphere and purity.
Track 9: “Modern Times” I had this melody in my head for the longest time. It was haunting me; I was never happy with the different arrangements I came up with… until this one.
Track 10: “Mauvaise Passe” Rhythmic displacements make me dizzy… until it finally sets into a hard swing. A fun piece featuring an angry trio.
Track 11: I wrote “Ballade Pour Charles” many years ago after my father passed away. His memory is woven into our story when all the characters mourn the loss of their mentor Charles. It was a beautiful moment to record this piece for him, after so many years.
Track 12: “When She Consoles Me” The title really says it all. Here I wanted to express the grateful feelings I have when a loved one attempts to console me. It’s the intention that gets me.
Track 13: “Wilder Will Find” Usually, my pieces are based on feelings I have, then I try to find a suitable title pertaining to that feeling. When a piece is written from a pure musical idea, I get stuck finding a title, so my wife will listen to the piece and eventually find a title. After I wrote this piece, I penciled “Wilder will find” meaning that Wilder (my wife) will find a title. Well, she liked it and that became the actual title. That also became the twist ending of our story.
About Christian Jacob:
Multi-Grammy nominated pianist and arranger Christian Jacob first gained widespread exposure as music director for Maynard Ferguson and later as leader of the Christian Jacob Trio and co-leader of the Tierney Sutton Band. Christian is also the musical director for both Broadway legend Betty Buckley and American icon Jack Jones. He has performed around the globe, with many of the musical giants that inspired him since childhood.
Born in Lorraine, France, Christian Jacob fell in love with classical music at age 4 and discovered jazz at age 9. After graduating with “First Prize” from the Paris Conservatory, Jacob came to America to focus on improvisation at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. While attending 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. He went on to teach at Berklee, tour with Maynard Ferguson, perform and record with a number of jazz legends and was listed by The Japan Times as one of the best-selling foreign jazz pianists in Japan. His extensive discography includes five critically acclaimed trio recordings and six Grammy nominations from his alliance with vocalist Tierney Sutton, drummer Ray Brinker and bassists Trey Henry and Kevin Axt. Christian also received a Grammy Nomination as an arranger with The Phil Norman Tentet.
While Christian performs year round, his arranging skills are also highly sought after. He has been arranging for the Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra since 1990 and The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra since 2005, featuring such talented artists as John Scofield, Billy Cobham, Charlie Haden, Phil Woods, Joe Lovano, Ron Carter and Gary Burton. Christian’s latest collaboration has been with renowned Japanese composer Kunihiko Murai and Maestro Jorge Calandrelli.
In 2014 Christian Jacob released his first solo piano recording, Beautiful Jazz: a private concert, aptly titled as this intimate solo recording is a dedication to the music that drew him away from the classical world and introduced him to the beautiful world of jazz. Recorded in pure analog and available as a limited edition vinyl LP.
In 2016, the original score to director Clint Eastwood’s box-office smash “Sully”, was created by Christian Jacob, The Tierney Sutton Band and Clint Eastwood. It was one of Christian’s proudest moments, to orchestrate his and the band’s music for a seventy-piece orchestra and hear it live with the brilliant Conrad Pope conducting. The following year Eastwood asked Christian to compose the music for his next film, “The 15:17 to Paris.”
New release: The Originals. Christian Jacob returns to the jazz trio setting with a captivating collection of original compositions. Presented in a story-like fashion, each selection draws the listener deeper into the trio’s musical wonderland. Playful, creative, grooving and performed with the extraordinary unity that The Christian Jacob Trio is known for. Joining Christian are longtime bandmates bassist Trey Henry and drummer Ray Brinker. While this recording is truly all about jazz trio, a beautifully orchestrated string ensemble adds depth to 8 of the compositions.
“I’ve been playing with Trey and Ray since we met on Maynard Ferguson’s band and here we are 30 years later, innumerable gigs and rehearsals later, still eager to work together. And for the first time it’s all original music. I hope you’ll enjoy what we’ve done; it certainly feels like we poured everything we had into it.” – Christian Jacob
Stephen Holden from the New York Times has described Christian’s performances as: “phenomenal” and “masterful.”
Keyboard Magazine: “Christian sounds like Bill Evans meets Keith Jarrett meets Maurice Ravel.”
Jazz Hot: “There is a lightness and fluidity in Christian Jacob that seduces you.”