Bill Jacobs Ensemble
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Bill Jacobs Ensemble

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
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Discography

“One”
CD released in 2000
1. Cuban Butterflies
2. You Were Meant For Me
3. Cantalope Island
4. Nubian’s Blew
5. Festival
6. Nutty
“We
(Can do together, what I could
never do alone)”
CD released in 2010
1. Global Funktion
2. Money Crazy
3. Dance
4. Diversion
5. Rumbero/Salcero
6. Listen to Me
7. It’s Just Because of You
8. Your Eyes

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Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Vibraphonist; percussionist, composer, educator, band leader, world citizen – these are a few of the artistic mantles worn by Bill Jacobs. Born in the Bronx, New York, Mr. Jacobs had an early introduction to the performing arts through his upbringing in Addisleigh Park, Queens, New York where he developed an affinity and passion for music. His father, Clarence Jacobs, held a doctorate in music education – performed in the original production of 'Porgy and Bess', and directed the gospel choir at the Allen A.M.E. Church. The area was an enclave for music legends – counted as family friends included Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, and Milt Hinton, among others. Bill was captivated, early on, by a live performance of Lionel Hampton and his band which germinated his core focus on the vibraphone. In a manner similar to Ellington, Bill began to perform live in a local dance band while still in Andrew Jackson High School.

Bill Jacobs went on to attend Kansas State Teacher’s College. His formal music education was completed through SUNY, at Empire State College. Upon returning to New York City, its' rich artistic environs afforded him the practical opportunities to study at Billy Taylor’s Jazz-mobile in Harlem and at the Barry Harris Jazz Cultural Theater; as well as studying under the tutelage of Weldon Irvine, the accomplished musician, composer and playwright. His studies on the development of African American music inspired him to form the 'Bill Jacobs Ensembles'; an organization created to inspire, educate, and perform for those in the metropolitan area.

In 2000, Bill released his first CD, 'One', which was independently produced and met with critical acclaim. Among his professional recordings and appearances, Mr. Jacobs has worked with alto saxophonist James Spaulding, Najee, the Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble, and opened for Sarah Vaughn, Tito Puente, and Stanley Turrentine among other illustrious musicians of our time. The current Bill Jacobs Ensemble band includes Alex Blake (bass), Neil Clarke (percussion), Casey Benjamin (tenor saxophone), Chacho Ramirez (drums), and his son, Jared Jacobs (keyboards) – all of whom bring their own unique musical expression and experiences to the Ensemble. His band has most recently returned from the month long Festival Mondial des Artes Negres in Dakar, Senegal with one of the highlights being an extended 'command' performance for His Excellency President Abdoulaye Wade and his family.

With compositional influences extending beyond mainstream jazz and utilizing global sources – Afro-Caribbean rhythms, Reggae, Mambo, Salsa, Pop, Calypso – the Bill Jacobs Ensemble contains all of the building blocks necessary for a deeply intimate connection and musical conversation with audiences. As a solo artist, band leader, and musical innovator, Bill Jacobs aspires to break through barriers in musical genres to reach audiences and fans beyond the traditional devotees of jazz and world music. The 2010 CD release entitled 'WE (can do together, what I could never do alone)' exemplifies the theme of Unity, Eternity & Humanity.