Christian Jacob is one of the best-selling foreign jazz pianists in Japan. The New York Times labeled him “phenomenal.” Some people call this classically trained Frenchman a genius and regard him as a next-generation leader in the jazz world.
Jacob, who is now active in America’s West Coast, will make a major debut in Yokohama and Tokyo this month leading his trio, with Trey Henry on bass and Ray Brinker on drums.
Born in Lorraine in 1958, Jacob entered the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique in Paris at the age of just 12, and graduated in 1978 with a First Prize.
But Jacobs’ classical training does not color his music in an “unjazzy” way. While playing jazz — which he discovered at the age of 9 or 10 — as a hobby, he developed his own style. And though he is completely steeped in jazz idiom, his playing is based on solid pianism that can give full play to the instrument’s musical power: his tones are clear, his melody lines smooth and flowing and his harmonies expansive.
On Japanese-printed CDs, Jacob’s performance can be heard on “Styne & Mine,” a trio performance, and “Blues on the Side,” as a member of a quartet led by the West Coast’s leading trumpeter Carl Saunders. “Contradictions” appeared on Oct. 3.
In the Yokohama and Tokyo performances, he will include four Japanese tunes.
The schedule is: Oct. 7, 5:30 p.m. at Redbrick Warehouse (Akarenga Soko), No. 1 Bldg. 3F, as part of the Oct. 6-7 Yokohama Jazz Promenade (one-day ticket ¥4,000 and two-day ticket ¥7,500 for various jazz events), (045) 221-0212; Oct. 8, 6:30 p.m. at Meguro Blues Alley Japan, ¥6,300 plus drink charge, (03) 5740-6041; Oct. 10, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at Shibuya JZ Brat, ¥6,300 plus drink charge for one session or ¥9,450 plus drink charge for two sessions, (03) 5728-0168; and Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m. at Kanda Tokyo TUC (live recording is scheduled), ¥7,500 or ¥8,500 plus drink charge, (03) 3866-8393.