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Pete died on April 29th 2002, aged 51.
We met in 1971, at which time he seemed rather a formidable figure, with his perfect pitch, astonishing memory, fierce independence and great musical maturity. There were occasional meetings over the next few years, including music by Chris Sansom which proved unplayable to everyone except Pete, who learnt the music from Chris' demo tape and reproduced it with astonishing consistency and assurance.
In 1975 Trevor Taylor formed Worlds in Collision, a five piece fusion band in which Pete started to play synth, and was the beginning for me of a regular musical relationship which continued to the present day.
Pete's Quartet followed on from this and featured his compositions, mine, and those of bassist Paul Carmichael, another of Pete's long term collaborators. Tony Marsh, drummer from Major Surgery, was on drums, and the material also included some of the freer blowing tunes from the Keith Jarrett songbook. With this group we made our first BBC broadcasts.
Shortly after this band folded I formed a quartet with Pete, John Mole on bass and Dave Barry on drums. Our first broadcast in 1979 included an up tempo piece Pete had written for Kenny Wheeler to play with him - '1817'. The repertoire also included Pete's 'No Prizes'.
This group continued as a Quintet with Ray Manderson on trumpet and Chucho Merchan on bass, then in 1986 recorded as a Sextet with Mick Hutton on bass and the late Danilo Terenzi on trombone. Later on we played and recorded as a Quartet.
Pete, Mick and Dave were also the resident rhythm section at Cambridge Modern Jazz Club during the mid 1980s and were a great and extraordinarily responsive group, able to achieve a natural dynamic balance in the most unfriendly acoustics without fuss.
From the mid-90s we played together rarely, but a one-off gig last year with Tim Wells and Tony Marsh led to plans for a new group featuring the compositions of Lee Konitz. Tim suggested 'Approximate-Lee' as the band name, which is the name we chose for our first gigs this summer. Not that there was anything approximate about Pete's playing. On this first gig I had sent him a tape including 2 Konitz tunes we had played once about five years ago. I picked Pete up at Embankment tube and he said he had been listening to the tape but apologised for not having had an opportunity to play them through on a keyboard. These are tunes I have been battling with for years. We ran through them once, Pete pointed out three notes I was playing wrong, and then it was gig time. Pete coaxed the best from the rather sticky old grand piano - or maybe just beat it into submission - and another great rhythm section was born.
Oh - and those Konitz tunes - spot on.
Recordings by Peter Jacobsen
25th November 1980 BBC Jazz Club Recording,
Chris Biscoe - alto sax, sop sax on Soft Shoe, Jiggery Pokery and 1817
4th August 1981, recording for 'Jazz in Britain',
Chris Biscoe - alto sax, baritone sax on Ruby My Dear, sop sax on Soft Shoe
3rd May 1983, recording for 'Jazz in Britain', broadcast 20th June 1983
Chris Biscoe - alto sax, sop sax on Miss J.T.
1983 - recording for BBC Jazz Club
Chris Biscoe - alto sax, sop sax on Reach for the Ski, The Banks of the Wandle
8th October 1983
Chris Biscoe - alto sax, bar sax on Ruby My Dear, sop sax on Miss J.T.
1st May 1984 BBC Jazz Club Recording
Chris Biscoe - alto sax, bar sax on Chelsea Bridge
8th March 1985
Chris Biscoe - baritone sax; alto sax on Resolution
July 29, 30, 31, 1986
Chris Biscoe - alto sax, bar sax on I Porcellini,
21st November 1986
Chris Biscoe - alto sax, bar sax on I Porcellini
24th November 1986
Chris Biscoe - alto sax, bar sax on To E.C., Walking Wig and Pannonica
20th April 1989
Chris Biscoe - alto sax, bar sax on Johnson
15th June 1989
Chris Biscoe - alto sax, bar sax on Johnson and Descafeinado
13th November 1990, broadcast 16th January 1991,
Chris Biscoe - alto sax, sop sax on Herb Roberts Waltz,
26th November 1991, broadcast 6th March 1992,
Chris Biscoe - alto sax, alto clarinet on Straight Face