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Peter Jacobsen - May 16th 1950 - April 29th 2002 - A Tribute by Chris Biscoe
Peter Jacobsen - Photo Steve Ford
Peter Jacobsen - Photo Steve Ford ©

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.
Around this time I also started to play in a duo with Pete - this was different to the group sound, but as an accompanist his sound was so complete I could just relish the extra freedom without feeling anything was missing.

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
with various bands led by Chris Biscoe.

25th November 1980 BBC Jazz Club Recording,
broadcast 21st December 1980
To E.C. (Biscoe)
Soft Shoe (Biscoe)
Jiggery Pokery (Barry)
South Ghost (Biscoe)
1817 (Jacobsen)

Chris Biscoe - alto sax, sop sax on Soft Shoe, Jiggery Pokery and 1817
Peter Jacobsen - piano
John Mole - electric bass
Dave Barry - drums


4th August 1981, recording for 'Jazz in Britain',
broadcast 31st August 1981
Grandada (Biscoe)
Billy Whole Half Egg (Biscoe)
Ruby My Dear (Monk)
Soft Shoe (Biscoe)

Chris Biscoe - alto sax, baritone sax on Ruby My Dear, sop sax on Soft Shoe
Ray Manderson - trumpet
Peter Jacobsen - piano
Paul Whitten - double bass
Tony Marsh - drums


3rd May 1983, recording for 'Jazz in Britain', broadcast 20th June 1983
Introduction by Charles Fox
Plant a Wild 'Airy (Biscoe)
Beneath the 3rd Shirt (Biscoe)
Miss J.T. (Merchan)

Chris Biscoe - alto sax, sop sax on Miss J.T.
Ray Manderson - trumpet
Peter Jacobsen - piano
Chucho Merchan - double bass
Dave Barry - drums


1983 - recording for BBC Jazz Club
Reach for the Ski (Biscoe)
The Banks of the Wandle (Barry)
Self-Portrait in 3 Colors (Mingus)
The Eyes Go Flirting By (Biscoe)
Hoots (Biscoe)

Chris Biscoe - alto sax, sop sax on Reach for the Ski, The Banks of the Wandle
Ray Manderson - trumpet
Peter Jacobsen - piano
Chucho Merchan - double bass
Dave Barry - drums


8th October 1983
To E.C. (Biscoe)
South Ghost (Biscoe)
Plant a Wild 'Airy (Biscoe)
Ruby My Dear (Monk)
Miss J.T. Merchan)

Chris Biscoe - alto sax, bar sax on Ruby My Dear, sop sax on Miss J.T.
Ray Manderson - trumpet, does not play on South Ghost
Peter Jacobsen - piano
Chucho Merchan - double bass
Dave Barry - drums
Porcupine Studios, recorded by Ted Taylor direct to 2 track - reel to reel


1st May 1984 BBC Jazz Club Recording
To E.C. (Biscoe)
Resolution (Pete Hurt)
Chelsea Bridge (Strayhorn)
Grandada (Biscoe)

Chris Biscoe - alto sax, bar sax on Chelsea Bridge
Ray Manderson - trumpet
Peter Jacobsen - piano
Chris Lawrence - double bass
Dave Barry - drums


8th March 1985
Sue-ffle - 3 takes (Biscoe)
Resolution (Pete Hurt)
Self- Portrait in 3 Colors - 2 takes (Mingus)

Chris Biscoe - baritone sax; alto sax on Resolution
Peter Jacobsen - piano
Porcupine Studios, recorded by Ted Taylor direct to 2 track - reel to reel


July 29, 30, 31, 1986
Grandada (Biscoe) - 3 takes
Beneath the 3rd Shirt (Biscoe)
South Ghost (Biscoe)
In Two Minds (Biscoe) - 2 takes
I Porcellini (Biscoe/Terenzi)
Billy Whole Half Egg (Biscoe)

Chris Biscoe - alto sax, bar sax on I Porcellini,
alto clarinet on Billy Whole Half Egg
Ray Manderson - trumpet
Danilo Terenzi - trombone
Peter Jacobsen - piano
Mick Hutton - double bass
Dave Barry - drums
Porcupine Studios, recorded by Ted Taylor direct to 2 track digital


21st November 1986
The Good Nu's (Biscoe)
I Porcellini (Biscoe/Terenzi)
You Don't Know What Love Is (Raye, de Paul)

Chris Biscoe - alto sax, bar sax on I Porcellini
Ray Manderson - trumpet
Danilo Terenzi - trombone
Peter Jacobsen - piano
Mick Hutton - double bass
Dave Barry - drums
BBC Radio 3 Jazz in Britain, Maida Vale Studio London W9


24th November 1986
To E.C. - 2 takes + 2 incomplete takes
You Don't Know What Love Is (Raye, de Paul) - 2 takes + 2 edit ends
Plant a Wild 'Airy (Biscoe) - 2 takes
The Good Nu's (Biscoe) - 3 takes + 1 incomplete take
Walking Wig (Biscoe) - 1 take
Pannonica (Monk) - 1 take (no rhythm section)

Chris Biscoe - alto sax, bar sax on To E.C., Walking Wig and Pannonica
Ray Manderson - trumpet
Danilo Terenzi - trombone
Peter Jacobsen - piano
Mick Hutton - double bass
Dave Barry - drums
Porcupine Studios, recorded by Ted Taylor direct to 2 track digital


20th April 1989
Ben Cruachan (Biscoe) - 3 takes
Johnson (Biscoe) - 3 takes
One for the Book (Biscoe) - 3 takes
Self Portrait in 3 Colors (Mingus) - 2 takes

Chris Biscoe - alto sax, bar sax on Johnson
Peter Jacobsen - piano
Mick Hutton - double bass
Dave Barry - drums
Porcupine Studios, recorded by Nick Taylor direct to 2 track digital


15th June 1989
Ben Cruachan (Biscoe) - 2 takes
Johnson (Biscoe) - 2 takes
Descafeinado (Biscoe) - 4 takes

Chris Biscoe - alto sax, bar sax on Johnson and Descafeinado
Peter Jacobsen - piano
Mick Hutton - double bass
Dave Barry - drums
Porcupine Studios, recorded by Ted Taylor direct to 2 track digital


13th November 1990, broadcast 16th January 1991,
BBC Radio 2 Jazz Parade
Herb Roberts Waltz (Biscoe)
Tender Love (Westbrook)
Ben Cruachan (Biscoe)
July '79 (Westbrook)
Soft Shoe (Biscoe)

Chris Biscoe - alto sax, sop sax on Herb Roberts Waltz,
Tender Love, Soft Shoe
Peter Jacobsen - piano
Mick Hutton - double bass
Dave Barry - drums
Studio 3, BBC Maida Vale Studios


26th November 1991, broadcast 6th March 1992,
BBC Radio 2 Jazz Parade
Well it Wouldn't (Biscoe)
One for the Book (Biscoe)
Ruby My Dear (Monk)
Straight Face (Hutton)

Chris Biscoe - alto sax, alto clarinet on Straight Face
Peter Jacobsen - piano
Mick Hutton - double bass
Dave Barry - drums
Studio 3, BBC Maida Vale Studios


OBITUARIES:
The Guardian - May 16th 2002
Radio Features: In Touch, BBC Radio 4, 7th May 2002

 

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