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Classical Music Review

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The Music of Jeffrey Jacob


Composer: Jeffrey Jacob
Conductors: Enrique Perez Mesa and Daniel Spalding
Performed by: National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, The Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey and The Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 14 April 2017

Composer and pianist Jeffrey Jacob releases his new album, Reawakening, a collection of varied works for orchestra and chamber ensembles. Jacob’s lush, mystical style pervades the album, often blending his piano’s sound with orchestral arrangements to create rich musical imagery...

Rarely do I enjoy an album from the first note to the last, but on the first play through that's exactly what I found myself doing with Jeffrey Jacob's Reawakening.

What I loved about the opening 'Awakening' is the segments where the flute and piano parts overlap, with both playing their own tune. This piece was also released previously on Intersections: Cross-Cultural Collaborations in Sound. When I reviewed that album I reflected:

"I could easily have listened to an entire album based around this piece of music. Jacob delivers so many beautiful segments in such a short space that it would have been interesting to have heard much more of his work."

Looks like I got my wish. And the wait was worth it. Over the course of these 8 tracks (1 hr, 02 min, 31 sec) Jacobs paints a vivid landscape with his music. In the listener the tracks conjure up an endless stream of stories and striking imagery. Not many composers manage to achieve this quite so effortlessly as presented here.

There are segments in 'Awakening' which reminded me of Dennis McCarthy's work on Star Trek: The Next Generation. For me, McCarthy's music, when composed well, really helped to elevate the show in its early seasons. And while the series feels a little cheesy by today's standards, the music still stands up well.

'Music for Haiti' sounded familiar, the closest I could come to it was Trevor Jones's score for The Dark Crystal.

The final track, 'Reawakening', sees the album come full circle, with a wonderful piano piece performed by Jacob.

I've been listening to this album, pretty much nonstop for a couple of weeks and every time I play it I find something new to love about it. This is one album you'll be playing for years to come.


Darren Rea

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