Beautiful Jazz

Subtitled “A private concert,” this is a solo piano recording by Christian Jacob. The native of France began classical music studies in 1962 at the age of 4, but a few years later, after hearing the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s recording of “Take Five,” he became fascinated with jazz and soon discovered Oscar Peterson’s records. “I had heard improvisation,” he said, “and it was like a door had opened to infinite possibilities. I was in love with jazz music.” The pianist then entered the Berklee College of Music where, among other honors, he received the Oscar Peterson Jazz Masters award, then went on the road with Maynard Ferguson’s band. Most recently he’s been with vocalist Tierney Sutton’s band—where’s he’s joined by ex-Chico bassist Kevin Axt—with whom he’s made eight CDs. This is a luxurious-sounding disc that was recorded in an L.A. concert hall, and each of the “iconic standards” allows him plenty of room for improvisation. The pensive “Body and Soul” is—among a collection of magnificent tunes—the stand-out track, although the revved-up “Giant Steps” comes in a close second. A special treat is his whirlwind rendition of Stravinsky’s “Etude No. 4.” This is an outstanding recording by a man who certainly deserves more recognition.