Although Danish-born Martin Jacobsen has considered Paris
his home base since 1995 before dividing his time between Italy and Asia
from 2016, the busy saxophonist keeps traveling extensively throughout
Europe and abroad.
Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, he began playing the tenor saxophone at the
relatively late age 19, driven by a strong urge for musical expression
after listening to jazz for about a year, especially the Miles Davis group
with John Coltrane of the 1950s. He received a few lessons from fellow
tenorman Tomas Franck, but largely taught himself to play. "It
isn't always the best way to learn because you can make mistakes, do things
wrong and then you have to waste time correcting bad technique. But also,
doing it the hard way, you can make discoveries. You definitely find out
what is really important."
Through the 1990s, Martin worked with a host of talented young jazz players
on the Copenhagen scene and was heard with the Bust'n Bloopers Big Band
with among others Bob Mintzer
and formed his quartet with guitarist Jacob Fischer in 1993. In 1995,
he took the advice of saxophonist Bob Rockwell who suggested he move to
either New York or Paris. Martin plumped for "Paree" and has
since been performing, recording and appearing on radio and TV shows with
Doug Raney, Bobby Durham,
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Mark
Taylor, Yutaka Shiina
and many others.
Martin Jacobsen has his base in between Italy most of the year, but is
a busy traveler in Europe and abroad and has performed in more than 25
countries, including Japan,
and of course in Denmark.
In 2017, the saxophonist contracted Hashimoto’s encephalopathy,
an autoimmune disease that targets brain tissue. It is extremely rare
with symptoms such as (among others) speech problems, lack of coordination,
tremors, and partial paralysis. Jacobsen encountered all of those. He
couldn’t play the saxophone for a year and a half; it took another
18 months to work his way back on the horn. The disease also paralyzed
his mouth and tongue: "I had to learn to speak again, in addition
to being able to play." His speech returned after several months
of intense rehab, but until then, he recounts, "I was mute"–
cut off from communicating with either words or music.
Martin Jacobsen has appeared at international venues such as Montreux
Jazz Festival (Montreux, Switzerland), Blue
Note (Milan, Italy), Akasaka
B-flat (Tokyo, Japan), Duc
des Lombards (Paris, France), Hot
Clube (Lisbon, Portugal), NHK
Fureai Hall (Tokyo, Japan), Barbican
Hall (London, UK), New Morning
(Paris, France), Berliner Festspielhaus
(Berlin, Germany), Villa Celimontana Jazz
Festival (Rome, Italy), North
Sea Jazz Festival (Rotterdam, Netherlands), Beijing
Ninegates Jazz Festival
(Beijing, China), Copenhagen
Jazz Festival (Copenhagen, Denmark), Cafe
Spain), Seoul Jazz Festival
(Seoul, South Korea),
(Copenhagen, Denmark), Maputo Music Festival
(Maputo, Mozambique), Edinburgh Festival
Fringe (Edinburgh, Scotland), UB
Jazz Festival (Ulanbatar, Mongolia), Audi
Jazz Festival (Phnom Penh, Cambodia), among many others.
latest SteepleChase release "Straight
(2021) has confirmed his position among today's most prominent European
25+ years teaching experience, Martin Jacobsen has frequently been invited
to hold jazz improvisation and saxophone technique clinics in France,
and Mozambique, and has
been teaching at music schools in both Paris
His book "Let's Speak Jazz!
A Conversational Approach to Jazz Improvisation for Saxophonists"
was published in 2018 by Schott Music. A new saxophone method book is
scheduled to be published by Schott Music in 2022.
Martin Jacobsen is a SteepleChase
recording artist, endorses Vandoren
reeds and mouthpieces, and plays on an Ishimori
Woodstone tenor saxophone.