Christian Jacob (musician)

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Christian Jacob
Pianist Christian Jacob recording "Time Lines" with headphones.jpg
Recording "Time Lines" 1998
Background information
Born Lorraine, France
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Pianist, composer, arranger
Instruments Piano
Years active 1980s–present
Labels Concord, WilderJazz, BFM Jazz, SSJ Japan
Associated acts The Christian Jacob Trio, The Tierney Sutton Band, Maynard Ferguson, Betty Buckley

Christian Jacob is a lyrical jazz pianist. He has gained widespread exposure as co-leader, arranger and pianist with vocalist Tierney Sutton, although he has also maintained a substantial career as a solo artist and leader.

Early years[edit]

Jacob was born in Lorraine, France on May 8, 1958. A pianist by age 4, he was immersed in study of the French classics. Something of a prodigy, Christian had perfect pitch and natural talent. He did not discover jazz until age 10, but when he did, its improvised nature appealed to him immediately. Early influences were Dave Brubeck and Oscar Peterson. As a teen, Jacob studied under Pierre Sancan at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique in Paris.[1] Later, he would teach piano at the Conservatoire National de Region in Metz.

In the early 80s, Jacob entered Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and won many awards as a student, including the Joe Zawinul Jazz Masters Award, Oscar Peterson Jazz Masters Award, and Downbeat Magazine "Top Collegiate Jazz Soloist" before graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1985. Jacob then took a teaching position at Berklee.

During his years in Boston, he formed "Bostonian Friends," an important musical partnership with Swiss saxophonist Fritz Renold, which produced jazz recordings ("Starlight" 1996) and classical commissions ("The 6 Cycles" with the Thai Symphony Orchestra 1999, and "Helvetic Suite" 1998). Although having renounced the classical performing circuit for jazz, Jacob has however maintained ties with the classical world through projects such as these commissioned works. Renold introduced Jacob to the Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra, for which he was an arranger and educator throughout the 90s. From 1992-1994 Jacob also served as Director in Residence of the "Orchestre Regional Jazz de Lorraine" in Nancy, Meurthe-et-Moselle, and composed their inaugural commission.

Professional years[edit]

While still at Berklee Jacob worked with vibraphonist Gary Burton but left Boston to tour with Maynard Ferguson through 1992. Christian served as performer, writer, and arranger with Ferguson's band. This led to Ferguson producing Jacob's first piano trio record, featuring John Patitucci and Peter Erskine.[2] Sidemen for his follow-up trio project "Time Lines" were Steve Swallow and Adam Nussbaum.[3] Jacob developed material with a third trio featuring Miroslav Vitouš and Bill Stewart. The first two recordings were released on Concord Records, but the later is yet to be released.

Jacob has extensive credits as a sideman, including Phil Woods, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, Terje Gewelt, Carl Saunders and others, but his most visible association has been as co-leader and pianist for Telarc recording artist Tierney Sutton.[4]

The Tierney Sutton Band[edit]

Initially Jacob was hired to perform on one recording with Tierney, but the group bonded musically and gave up their leader/sidemen statuses. Tierney Sutton, Trey Henry, Ray Brinker, Kevin Axt and Christian Jacob became co-leaders of The Tierney Sutton Band. 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 that recorded eight critically acclaimed CDs. “Unsung Heroes”, “Blue in Green”, “Something Cool”, “Dancing in the Dark”, “I’m With The Band”, “On the Other Side”, “Desire” and “American Road”. The latter four were each nominated for a Grammy Award. In 2012 Christian and The Tierney Sutton Band received two Grammy nominations for “American Road,” Best Jazz Vocal Album and Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist.

The Christian Jacob Trio[edit]

Christian released three trio recordings on his own independent label WilderJazz.[5] The 2004 release, “Styne & Mine”, is a tribute to the music of Jule Styne, and reached #3 in the jazz radio charts. The trio then recorded “Contradictions” in 2006. The recording pays homage and offers another look at the original compositions of renowned pianist Michel Petrucciani. Christian's next trio recording was a joint venture with Japanese label SSJ, titled “Live in Japan”. It was recorded live at Tokyo Tuc Jazz Club in 2008.

Musical Director for Betty Buckley[edit]

In 2011 Christian Jacob became music director for the legendary Broadway singer Betty Buckley. His introduction to her world of Broadway was a week of sold out performances at Feinstein’s nightclub in New York. Musically it was a perfect fit. Christian was happy to reunite with an aspect of classical music. At the end of 2011 they brought the show into the recording studio. “Ah, Men! The Boys of Broadway” will be released in August 2012 by Palmetto Records.

Currently Christian Jacob is preparing to release his first solo piano recording in 2012. His arranging credits include writing for Randy Brecker, Franco Ambrosetti, Benny Golson, Gary Burton, Tommy Smith and The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Jazzaar (The Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra) and his own big band “Big Band Theory.”



  • 2011 - The Tierney Sutton Band ~ "American Road"—Co-leader, Pianist, Arranger
  • 2011 - Phil Norman ~ “Encore” - Pianist, Arranger
  • 2009 - The Tierney Sutton Band ~ "Desire"—Co-leader, Pianist, Arranger
  • 2008 - The Christian Jacob Trio ~ "Live in Japan"—Pianist, Arranger, Producer
  • 2008 - Vic Lewis ` “Celebration of Contemporary West Coast Jazz” — Pianist, Arranger
  • 2007 - Wayne Bergeron ~ "Plays Well With Others"—Pianist
  • 2007 - The Tierney Sutton Band ~"On The Other Side"—Co-leader, Pianist, Arranger
  • 2007 - Maynard Ferguson ~ “One and Only” — Pianist, Composer, Arranger, Group Member
  • 2007 - The Carl Saunders Exploration ~ "The Lost Bill Holman Charts"—Pianist
  • 2006 - The Christian Jacob Trio ~ "Contradictions"—Pianist, Arranger, Producer
  • 2006 - The Bill Holman Band ~ "Hommage"—Pianist
  • 2005 - The Bill Holman Band ~ "Live"—Pianist
  • 2005 - Flora Purim ~ "Flora's Song"—Pianist, Arranger
  • 2005 - Carl Saunders ~ "Can You Dig Being Dug"—Pianist
  • 2005 - Gene Burkert ~ "The Jazz Palette"—Pianist, Keyboard
  • 2005 - Phil Woods "Groovin' to Marty Paich"—Pianist, Music Director
  • 2005 - Terje Gewelt & Christian Jacob ~ "Hope"—Pianist, Composer, Arranger
  • 2005 - The Tierney Sutton Band ~ "I'm With The Band"—Co-leader, Pianist, Arranger
  • 2004 - The Christian Jacob Trio ~ "Styne and Mine"—Pianist, Composer, Arranger, Producer
  • 2004 - The Tierney Sutton Band ~ "Dancing In the Dark"—Co-leader, Pianist, Arranger, Orchestration, Conductor
  • 2003 - Flora Purim ~ "Speak No Evil"—Pianist
  • 2003 - Gary Meek ~ "Step 7"—Pianist
  • 2003 - Terje Gewelt & Christian Jacob ~ "Interplay"—Pianist, Composer, Arranger
  • 2002 - Carl Saunders ~ "Be Bop Big Band" - Pianist
  • 2002 - Terje Gewelt & Christian Jacob ~ "Duality"—Pianist, Composer, Arranger
  • 2002 - Alan Kaplan ~ "Lonely Town"—Pianist
  • 2001 - The Tierney Sutton Band ~ "Blue In Green"—Co-leader, Pianist, Arranger
  • 2001 - West Coast All-Stars ~ "With Love To Gerry"—Pianist
  • 2001 - Flora Purim ~ "Perpetual Emotion"—Pianist, Arranger
  • 2000 - Tierney Sutton ~ "Unsung Heroes"—Co-leader, Pianist, Arranger
  • 1999 - Christian Jacob and Fritz Renold ~ "The Six Cycles"—Pianist, Composer, Arranger, Orchestration
  • 1999 - Christian Jacob ~ "Time Lines"—Pianist, Composer, Arranger, Producer
  • 1999 - Christian Jacob and Fritz Renold ~ "Jazz Meets Classical"—Pianist, Composer, Arranger, Orchestration
  • 1998 - Vic Lewis ~ "West Coast All Stars"—Pianist
  • 1998 - Miki Coltrane ~ "I Think of You"—Pianist
  • 1997 - The Tierney Sutton Band ~ "Introducing Tierney Sutton"—Pianist, Arranger
  • 1997 - Tom Garling ~ "Maynard Ferguson Presents Tom Garling"—Pianist, Arranger
  • 1997 - Fritz Renold ~ "StarLight"—Pianist, Composer, Arranger
  • 1997 - Christian Jacob ~ "Maynard Ferguson Presents Christian Jacob"—Pianist, Composer, Arranger
  • 1997 - Gene Burkert ~ "The System"—Pianist
  • 1995 - "Vic Lewis Presents West Coast Jazz"—Pianist
  • 1994 - Maynard Ferguson ~ "Live From London"—Pianist, Keyboards, Arranger
  • 1993 - Anita O'Day (with The Jack Sheldon Orchestra) ~ "Rules Of The Road"—Pianist
  • 1993 - Fritz Renold Quartet Plus 2 ~ "Shanti & Sri"—Pianist, Composer, Arranger
  • 1992 - Maynard Ferguson ~ "Footpath Cafe"—Composer, Arranger
  • 1992 - Christian Jacob and Fritz Renold ~ "Bostonian Friends"—Pianist, Composer, Arranger
  • 1990 - Christian Ledelezir (with Dave Liebman) ~ "Exaton"—Pianist
  • 1988 - Fabio Morgera/George Garzone ~ "Take One"—Pianist
  • 1988 - Vaughn Hawthorne ~ "The Path"—Pianist


  1. ^ Kawabata, Tai (5 October 2007). "Jacob tinkles the next-generation ivories". Japan Times. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Maynard Ferguson Presents Jacob Christian: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  3. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Time Lines: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  4. ^ Dryden, Ken. "Styne & Mine: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Leiter, Richard (March 2007). "Music Makers". Keyboard Magazine. 
  6. ^ Christian Jacob, All About Jazz
  7. ^ The Tierney Sutton Band, BFM Jazz
  8. ^ 54th Grammy Awards
  9. ^ Jazz Lives by Gene Lees, Firefly Books, Buffalo N.Y., 1992.

External links[edit]