May’s Artist Feature: Jacob Sacks

Pianist, composer and educator Jacob Sacks is this month’s artist feature. I have known Jacob for more than 15 years, and performed and collaborated with him almost from the start. He is an artist with integrity, honesty and deep artistry. From the very first time I heard him perform, I knew he was special. Jacob is an adventurous, free spirit with a deep knowledge, love, and respect for improvising and creative expression.

We’ve shared countless meals at my home, his home, on the road, and everywhere else. Jacob a foodie and an awesome baker who, lucky for my husband, me and my son, loves to share his creations (cookie bars ring a bell, Chris – Ha!). Birthdays are always a treat when you know Jacob Sacks is baking the cake! Jacob’s favorite Korean dish is a dry anchovy side dish called “mulchi” (sounds unappetizing but guaranteed delicious when prepared correctly). Jacob discovered this particular dish while having a home cooked meal from my mom.

Jacob arrived in NYC in 1996, starting out as a student at the Manhattan School of Music. Since that time, he has been known around town and elsewhere as a badass pianist and improviser. Jacob is a long-time member of multiple bands such as Eivind Opsvik’s Over Seas, Dan Weiss Trio, David Binney band, Ohad Tolmar Quintet, the late Paul Motian ensemble, my E-String Toy Band and our long time duo collaboration. Jacob is on numerous recordings (too many to mention) and is regularly performing on the NYC creative music scene.

We’ve made three duo albums together, Soulmates (2002), Imagination (2008), and one which will come out this fall. Jacob and I are also both on a collective quintet album called 4inObjects (2006). Of course, my long time collaboration with Jacob has truly been a highlight throughout my musical life. Playing with Jacob has made me into a better musician and artist.

Another wonderful side to Jacob’s musical skills is that he is an amazing teacher. I am always blown away by how clearly he presents musical concepts to young musicians and how he can get the students to explore and try out something that may feel new and unfamiliar. Jacob’s knowledge of the jazz tradition is kind of awesome and I feel like a student myself when he is talking about recordings, musical style and jazz musicians throughout history.

Jacob and I will be performing on Wednesday, May 28th, at Carnegie Hall and he will also be performing with his trio, Dan Weiss on drums and Thomas Morgan on bass in the second half of the program. If you are in NYC, come and see this rare performance on one of the world’s most reputable stages.

On a more personal note, Jacob is my best friend. A kind, warm and generous individual that gives everything he’s got to his friends and music. I look forward to many more years of fun filled, crazy music with Jacob Sacks and of course, lots of his home-made birthday cake!

See you at Carnegie Hall!

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