Trio Pim Jacobs: “Come Fly With Me”

I had never heard of Pim Jacobs when, unsuspecting, I accidentally hit one of those sites that discuss more obscure music releases or reissues and, although I can’t quite recall, the album was even offered for download. I quickly read through the veritable epitomizing of this reissue and started investigating in more detail. It’s become a habit to do that when I come across someone praising an album in no uncertain tone, especially if that someone – as a quick glance at the archives page of said site showed – had very similar listening habits.

It was a frustrating experience. As is often the case, the Internet turned up quite a bit of information, but all of it seemed, in one way or another, to have been copied from the same two sources, and those weren’t very elaborate.

It was also frustrating because from a quick glance at the hard facts – being European myself – I should have heard of Pim Jacobs before. I have spent half of my life listening to European musicians who toured through Scandinavia and Germany and I was even fortunate to meet and talk to many of them. Never once did that name come up. I don’t know how many musicians passed through Copenhagen’s famed jazz club “Montmartre”, a place I had almost familial ties to, and many of the countless musicians who did pass through must surely have played with Pim. I know they did because I later unearthed that information. Still, I have no memory of ever having heard anything about him.

Sad, really.

See, it didn’t take long to figure out that “Come Fly with Me” is perhaps his most revered recording in many circles, so I ran (not walked) to the next online shop that usually caters to my more immediate needs and ordered it. While I was at it, I ordered two other recordings, one of which turned out to be a clunker. More about that, perhaps, at a later date.

The few snippets I had heard told me already that I would certainly like “Come Fly With Me” and it took quite a bit of patience to wait until it was shipped (by wooden vessel, I suppose, because it took so frustratingly long) all the way from Japan to the – at that time – frozen German shores.

I remember clearly tearing the padded envelope in half and having the disc spinning before it had a chance to acclimatize itself. What I heard was … well, wait for it.

[snip]

Pim Jacobs was, as I found out, not some unknown artist fighting for recognition but had quite a history to show for himself. What attracted me immediately to searching out “Come Fly With Me” and some other releases was the fact that it became clear immediately that he had gone through the same tough school that many other musicians I admired had gone through, that of accompanying the seemingly endless stream of visiting American jazz greats that toured through Europe for decades. I have often referred to my time in various smokey Danish jazz clubs on this site and if you know that people like Niels Henning Oersted Pedersen went through the same school, to name just one artist almost everyone knows (and loves), filling the house bassist position in a club like “Montmartre” for years, having to give it one-hundred percent again and again on short notice, jumping into jam sessions with a 60-second warning, then you also know that Pim Jacobs must have been damn good, even before you had a chance to listen to any of his music. If you then find out that he sat in with jazz greats like Wes Montgomery, to name just one artist (actually, I would think, Montgomery sat in with him), discover an available video of that event and you then see Wes’ face light up instantly, you know you’re in for a treat.

As you can read just about everywhere when you do find something on Willem Bernard Jacobs (born in Hilversum, Holland, on October 29th, 1934 – died in Tienhoven, Holland, on July 3rd, 1996), he came from a musical family and his brother, Ruud, an equally accomplished bassist who was a member of Pim’s trio for years and teamed up with him again and again (and even produced the session we’re talking about here), has an equally long list of world renowned jazz musicians he recorded and played with to show for himself (he also happens to play a mean tenor sax!).

After a somewhat sketchy path towards jazz, he started his own trio in 1954 and the rest, as they say, is (Dutch) history. He played, toured and composed full-time, backed such luminaries as Lucky Thompson, Stan Getz, Herbie Mann and a slew of others. Later in life, he teamed up with his wife (they got married in 1960), vocalist Rita Reys, and there is a whole number of their recordings still readily available today. Instead of putting all his eggs into one basket though, he regularly hosted TV shows, bringing together national and international musicians, composed and recorded soundtracks for documentaries, took his and other music into Dutch schools, and even had a Theater in Maarssen named in his honor … apparently a consummate musician and media personality.

Yep, I had never heard of him.

[snip]

“Come Fly With Me”, released in 1982 (originally a Philips LP, as far as I know), is a wonderfully relaxed affair, with a predominantly slow swing feel. The recording just oozes “class”. At times it is almost introspective, with each note carefully placed and played with a wonderfully soft touch, and even the uptempo numbers like “Autumn Leaves” and “I Love You” appear “reigned-in”, for want of another expression. It’s almost as if he restrained himself. I might be wrong because I have so little to go by, but I recall especially Teddy Wilson and other, much lesser-known pianists, doing the same later on in their career, showing what they were musically capable of and forgoing almost all the technical flourishes that they had at the ready. Mind you, there are plenty displayed by Pim Jacobs here, but they are mostly added as the icing on the cake. What I’m hearing here is a pianist in love with the music and not his own way of playing, someone who gave a lot of thought to what best serves the tune.

But that’s not all, yet.

He’s backed up by just the right people. I’ve mentioned his brother Ruud Jacobs before, and he shines as the accompanying bassist here. There are wonderfully singing and vibrant bass notes here; the strings are given plenty of room to breathe. And he plays a mean walking bass as well. Peter Ypma, the drummer, is in the best sense of the word one who supports the two with wonderful brush work on most and a few rock-solid ride-cymbal driven rhythms on the others.

The more I think about it, the more I’m sure this CD soared to the very top of my regular listening pile because of the wonderful tempos these three musicians found for the tunes. It might be a silly observation, but ever since I ripped the CD to my portable player, I always end up listening to “Sultry Serenade” when on one of my many walks. You just can’t help but fall into rhythm; the trio’s interpretation just grabs you. It’s by far my favorite track on this album and it has stood the test of time as well: After more than a hundred times, I still listen to it … and walk to it (Disclaimer: I’m the only German without a driver’s license and walk everywhere).

Because I’m not as knowledgeable and do not have the discographies at my disposal that others have, here’s an interesting observation: “Sultry Serenade”, credited to Duke Ellington and Tyree Glenn here, was also recorded by another favorite of mine, the much more recent “Bassface Swing Trio” from Germany. On their live session entitled “Straight Live” (Rodenstein Records, 2005), the same song – in an uptempo format – is entitled “How Could You Do a Thing Like That to Me?” and is credited to Tyree Glenn and Allen Roberts. I guess Ellington took Glenn’s tune and gave it a new twist? I’m sure those readers out there who are better-educated in these matters than I am can enlighten all of us on this fact?

So, what do we have here? Well, already now it’s the best purchase I made these past 6 months, bar none. It’ll be hard to beat by another one. Impeccable musicianship on the highest level, which obviously stems from decades of hard-earned and incessantly trained and perfected ability, makes this CD an absolute must-have. Piano jazz in the trio format doesn’t come much better than this.

Beg, steal and borrow.
Then you have two if one should get lost. 🙂

***

Rating: *****/*****
Artist(s): Trio Pim Jacobs
Title: “Come Fly With Me”
Release Date(s): 1982

This CD: Philips JPN-UCCU-5512, Japan 1982
Alternative: Limited Japanese papersleeve edition available.

Titles:
001: I’ve Got the World on a String (05:31)
002: Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year (05:38)
003: Come Fly With Me (06:19)
004: Autumn Leaves (Les Feuilles Mortes) (04:13)
005: Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me) (05:37)
006: I Love You (04:51)
007: Body and Soul (05:45)
008: Sultry Serenade (06:31)

Personnel: Pim Jacobs (p), Ruud Jacobs (b), Peter Ypma (d)

Recording Date: n.n.
Recording Venue: Wisseloord Studios
City: Hilversum, Holland
Recorded By: John v. d. Houten and Albert Kos
Mixed By: Albert Kos at Wisseloord Studios

Cover Photo: Bart Mulder

Note: Special Thanks to: H. v. Zalinge, J. v. Gils

Posted by Volkher Hofmann

Volkher Hofmann (deus62) has been blogging on and off since the 1990s and deus62.com is all that is left. He loves music, literature, drumming and, most of all, real life. He thinks the open web is much more important than social networks, closed-in ecosystems and other severely commercialized online endeavors.

  1. Can any of the regulars here add some more session info (Recording date, liner notes (mine are Japanese), if any?). I couldn’t turn up any more info than what you find above.

    Thanks!

    Reply

  2. Volkher,

    I have two or three Japanese re-issues of Pim Jacobs and his trios with his wife Rita Reyes on vocal. All were recorded in the 60s, solid works.

    Will try to hunt down “Come Fly With Me”

    Reply

  3. There is nothing in the discographies but “recorded ca. 1982”.

    Have a look at this auction:
    http://page10.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/m41604436
    where you can see the backcover. No linernotes to speak of as you can see. The guy in the picture is Sergio Orlandini, then president of KLM – Royal Dutch Arlines. The LP was commissioned by KLM, I believe as an exclusive gift to KLM workers. The print must have been a pretty limited run which is why the original LP catches high prices these days (just have a look at the popsike site, remember this is not some vintage 1950s LP)

    The music is superb. There is a lot of cool restraint in Pim’s playing with sudden bluesy twists. Not unlike Guaraldi really.

    Reply

  4. @couw Ah, now I get it. I was wondering about that. The back cover is faithfully reproduced for the issue I have and has this below Orlandini’s photo:

    The title of this LP is music in my ears. The chords evoke fantasies but also create a relaxed atmosphere. In addition to the title track, there is one more that induces the feeling of being en route to faraway places: ‘I’ve got the world on a string’.

    An accomplishment in sound!
    Congratulations to Pim Jacobs and his group.
    I hope that they will find many listeners.
    S. Orlandini
    President KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

    Thanks for that information about the KLM connection. I’ll add it to the details above later.

    Yes, the Guaraldi connection is certainly there, but I also hear a lot of other players in there, especially a relaxed Oscar Peterson. Apparently, Pim Jacobs was a big fan. Besides that, he seems to have been more than well-versed in both the cool and bop idiom.

    I’m getting closer and closer to going for the “Jacobs Brothers in Jazz”. Have you gotten that one for yourself? As far as I can tell there are at least two – if not three – version of that out there?

    Reply

  5. @C Ho

    I don’t have any Rita Reys material. Can you give us an idea if there is a session we could/should start with if any of us should be interested in doing so? Thanks.

    Reply

  6. Voikher,

    Discovered that there are not a few but FIVE of Rita Reys CDs. Guess I am as hopless as you are as a collector.

    RITA REYS and the PIM JACOBS TRIO – MARRIAGE IN MODERN JAZZ
    Philips P 08052L (UCCM-9141): Mini Cardboard LP
    Yes, they were a couple then (now?)
    Trio consists of Pim Jacob, Raud Jacobs (bass) & Wim OvergauuW (guiter)
    From the original liner note appeared recorded in 1960
    Not a Japanese reissue

    RITA REYS and the PIM JACOBS TRIO – RITA REYS AT THE GOLDEN CIRCLE CLUB, STOCKHOLM
    Philips 08099L (mono) 840 333PY (stereo) UCCM-9047: Mini
    Cardboard LP
    Japanese Reissue – original liner nots (I presume) in Dutch
    Recording date according to Japanese liner notes 28/5/1963

    RITA REYS and the PIM JACOBS TRIO feauturing KENNY CLARK – JAZZ PICTURES AT THE EXHIBITION
    Phipips P08062L UCCU-5501 Japanese Reissue
    recorded at the Singer Concerhall, Laren Holland (have you been there?) on 12/10/1961 (according to Japanese liner notes)

    RITA REYS – THE COOLVOICE OF RITA REYS NO. 2
    Philips GP 08010 L, UCCM-9045
    with the Orchestra directed by Ian Corduwener
    recorded in Holland and (according to Japanese liner notes) in 1958 Japanese reissue Mini

    RITA REYS BENGT HALLBERG – TWO JAZZY PEOPLE
    Phipils P08203 L, UCCM-9142
    Bengt Hallberg (piano), Gunnar Johnson (bass) & Egil Johnsen (drums) – have you heard of these guys?
    Mini Cardboard LP – Japanese Reissue – recorded (according to Japanese liner notes) 14-16/12/1958

    You should have known by now that I collected reissued jazz, don’t really collect new recordings but will attend concerts, last time our is the Monterey Jazz Festival last Spetember

    Reply

  7. @ C Ho

    Thanks for providing the information. I have been around looking at those available (re)issues as well. Currently, I’m not planning on getting any (I simply have too many other things in my shopping cart right now) but I’d love to hear from you what any of the above are like if/when you heard them.

    Reply

  8. Dear Volkher,

    This album was recorded in 1982, according to the original (Dutch) sleeve. It was to be released by Philips, but they saw no “bread” in it. So The Royal Dutch Airlines, K.L.M. sponsored this album.The airline had two demands, the title should have something to do with flying, and they wanted a plane on the cover. The original LP is now a very looked after collectors item, worth over $ 200. The re-issue on CD was only a Japanese, it was never released on the Dutch market at all. The rest of your information is correct.

    Pim Jacobs started as a professional pianist in the combo of drummer Wessel Ilcken, the singer in that group was Rita Reys and Rita was married to Wessel. In 1956 Rita did a trip to the U.S., invited by producer George Avakian. She recorded with Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers and with the Orchestra of Oliver Nelson (a few years later). When Wessel died suddenly in 1957, Rita continued singing with the then drumless Pim Jacobs Trio.

    Rita told me:

    “Pim had this trio without drums, influenced by Nat King Cole and later Oscar Peterson. You could say Nat was the first, Oscar was the second and we (Pim) was the third.”

    Pim’s Trio had of course his brother Ruud Jacobs on bass, and the very talented Wim Overgauw on guitar. After a few years working together, Rita and Pim married and Rita Reys made a lot of recordings with her new husband’s group.

    Famous (and collectors items) are “At the Golden Circle Club, Stockholm” (1963) and “Jazzpictures at an exhibition – at the Singer Concertzaal, Laren, Holland” where the group had the superb backing of drummer Kenny Clarke added (1961). (who had just left the Modern Jazz Quartet)

    Since Pim died, in 1996, Rita continued singing and nowadays she is still touring (although she is past 80 now) with young piano player Peter Beets and his group.

    After Pim Jacobs death a 3-cd box set was compiled “Pim Jacobs – The Complete Trio and Orchestra Recordings“.

    As Pim’s pianohero was always Oscar Peterson, I was asked by the producer (because of my friendship with Oscar) if I could arrange that Oscar should write some liner-notes for the box. After I phoned Oscar about this he wrote:

    “Pim Jacobs as I remember him, was a very open and easy-going person, as was his music. His warm, happy-go-lucky, and simplistic approach to life showed in his playing.
    This is the way I will always remember him.”
    signed: Dr. Oscar E. Peterson, C.C.

    If you want to listen to more of Pim Jabobs, I certainly recommend this box, issued by Quintessence Records (QS 900.334-2) in 1997.

    All 8 tracks of “Come fly with me” are also in this box, but you can hear Pim’s first recordings from 1956, but also the fine recordings he did with the late composer/arranger/conductor Rogier van Otterloo. Rogier and his wonderful Metropole Orchestra also did a record for K.L.M.: “First in the air” (1974), now also a collectors item. (not on cd, not even in Japan) If I am not mistaken, it was this record (not Pim’s) that was given to Transatlantic passengers of the airline.

    Well in regard to Rita Reys I can tell you she did many recordings, with and without Pim Jacobs.

    Recently a DVD was issued, live recorded in the “Royal Theater Carré” in Amsterdam.

    But to understand why she deserved the title “Europe’s First of Jazz” (at a contest in France), you try the 4-cd box set: “The Rita Reys Story – Songs of a Lifetime” (Nikkelen Nelis NN 500.405). This box starts with her first recording in 1953 in Stockholm with the Lars Gullin Kvartet, has great recordings with her first husband Wessel Ilcken, Art Blakey & Jazzmessengers, Bengt Halberg Trio, Mat Mathews Combo, Pim Jacobs Trio (of course), Oliver Nelson, Dutch Swing College Band, Orchestra conducted by Rogier van Otterloo, Johnny Griffin, Orchestra Peter Knight, Rosenberg Trio, Dutch piano virtuoso Louis van Dijk, Radio-Philharmonie Hannover and her most recent recordings.

    Arnold.

    Reply

  9. Arnold,

    thanks a million for this additional info (I’ve taken the liberty of reformatting it very slightly so it is easier to skim. I hope you don’t mind).

    That Quintessence Records box sounds just like something for me, but didn’t they only do LP boxed sets (wasn’t it that label that did all those Reader’s Digest boxes?)? If yes, I don’t buy LPs anymore (yeah, I know, long story). Was this material (in this complete form) ever reissued elsewhere in digital format? Unfortunately, I haven’t come across it yet.

    The Rita Reys box I have to look for. I had no idea it existed. I’m especially interested in the early material with Lars Gullin because I’ve heard some great sessions with him. The rest sounds equally fascinating.

    Again, thanks. The information is much appreciated.

    Reply

  10. arnold van kampen06/05/2008 at 6:55 pm

    Dear Volkher,

    As far as I know Quintessence did NOT do the Reader Digest boxes.
    But the Pim Jacobs box is maybe stll available, if you want one please let me know.
    The label: Nikkelen Nelis is also a label of Quintessence.
    Nowedays all Quintessence labels are distributed by Universal, so I think in Germany too.
    If you can’t find these boxes please let me know.
    Of course I could copy these for you, but I think you prefer the originals?
    As I know the managing director of Quintessence (Mr. Otto Vriezenberg) very well, I will phone him if I want both.

    The other cd’s I recommended are still available by HMV Japan.
    I often use the services of this store (the largest cd store in the world) to find Japanese and rare releases, out of print in Europe or the rest of the world.
    Do you have their email address?
    I can give it to you, but you will find it easy by Google.
    HMV Japan also sells a cd of the Jacobs Brothers, but no trio on this one, but a small orchestra.

    If you like fine swinging piano jazz I highly recommend: Gene Harris Quartet – Live in London, just released by the new label: Resonance (HCD-2001).
    You can buy this one by Amazon, or directly from the site of Resonance.
    The music on this new cd was recorded in 1996, but never released.
    Do yourself a favour and buy a copy: it’s a hard swinging set, with long tracks, and the late Gene Harris is very inspired.
    Check it out!
    I like to read your comments on this one.

    Arnold.

    Reply

  11. Arnold,

    thanks for the extra info. I will certainly contact you in regard to the Pim Jacobs box. I really wouldn’t mind having that.

    Gene Harris I don’t have much of, but as I write this I’m listening to two clips of the album you recommended over on the Resonance website and like what I’m hearing. I’ll order it via an Amazon marketplace dealer (actually, I just did). 😉

    Most of the Gene Harris I have, I picked up at various sales:
    – Live at the ‘IT Club (Volume 2)
    – The Gene Harris Trio Plus One (SACD)
    – Gene Harris Live at Otter Crest
    – Gene Harris – The Best of the Concord Years
    – The Gene Harris/Scott Hamilton Quintet (SACD)
    – The Gene Harris Quartet – Listen Here! (SACD)
    – Ballad Essentials (got that as a present from someone)

    Right now it’s time to stop buying stuff and concentrate on the summer holidays. I need some cash to get away for two weeks or so. I’ll be doing lots of listening this summer as I have plenty of work to do at home and in September/October I’ll go on a shopping spree again. 😉

    Have a nice weekend.

    Volkher

    Reply

  12. Pity. As you probably know I’ve been downsizing my CD collection for months and I was just thinking of sending you my upcoming CD sale list with approximately 1000 discs… 🙂

    Reply

  13. Sorry, didn’t intend to take this off-topic.

    Reply

  14. What are you selling Hans?

    Of the list of Volkher’s Gene Harris cd’s “Otter Crest”is certainly the best.
    On YouTube are 3 clips of that concert.
    Has anybody the complete concert on DVD?
    I like to buy that or trade it.
    Gene Harris did to these ears the best in The Ray Brown Trio (with Mickey Roker on drums)
    Ray’s first trio was with Monty Alexander, but after he heard “Otter Crest”, first out on LP on the Bosco Records label in 1982, Ray contacted Gene and he made his come back ( Gene was semi-retired at that time.)
    Ray Brown Trio with Gene was 1984 – 1991
    After that Ray toured with the Oscar Peterson Reunion group: Oscar, Herb Ellis, Ray and drummer Bobby Durham, who was followed in 1992 by Jeff Hamilton.
    In May 1993 (9th) Oscar had his stroke.
    The next day he did one (last concert) with one hand, helped by Benny Green on piano in Montreal, but could play anymore.
    He fought his way back to the concert podia, but never became the virtuoso he was before.
    Ray Brown continued from 1993 with Benny Green, followed by Geoff Keezer and his last trio (in spite of what everybody thinks was with pianist Larry Fuller and drummer Karriem Riggins.
    In 2002 Ray died complete unexpected in his sleep after he had played golf and was taking a nap before the concert that evening.
    Jazz lost with Ray one of his key figures.
    He started with Dizzy, founded the Modern Jazz Quartet (was followed by Percy Heath on bass), had his own trio with Hank Jones, backing his wife in those days: Ella Fitzgerald.
    After that he started his long relationship with Oscar Peterson and was part of maybe the two ultimate jazztrio’s ever:
    Oscar Peterson Trio with guitarist Herb Ellis (ended in 1959) and the Oscar Peterson Trio with drummer Ed Thigpen.
    Ed left in 1965 and was replaced by Louis Hayes, Ray left in 1966 and Sam Jones replaced him.
    In will deal with the Peterson Trio later in my comments on The London House Sessions 1961.

    Arnold

    Reply

  15. Arnold,

    I’m selling classical, jazz, blues, R&B and rock CDs from my personal collection – I don’t want to sidetrack this topic though.

    Reply

  16. Hans,

    send me the list. 😉

    Reply

  17. Arnold,

    I did receive the Gene Harris “Live in London” CD you recommended above just a few days ago and it is an excellent and very lively recording. I had plenty of time to listen to it as I was incapacitated for a while. The sound is also very good. Thanks for the heads up on this excellent CD!

    Reply

  18. Who ever receives this e-mail, I would appreciate to get in touch with Ruud Jacobs

    An old friend, Ronald Wijtenburg (Hilversum 1957 etc,)

    Happy New Year

    Reply

  19. Ruud, if you receive this e-mail, you see a web site http://www.miamistogies.com
    please get in touch through e-mail. This is my son’s website and than some.

    Tot Horens
    Ronald

    Reply

  20. S. Chukely Shays05/02/2010 at 7:16 pm

    The first and only time I saw/heard Pim Jacobs was on that DVD that contains 3 performances of Wes Montgomery in Europe (1964/65 I think). One set is in Holland with Pim’s trio. Actually, it’s more like an impromptu jam session, with Wes explaining and demonstrating to the others. The band acquits itself well on a couple of numbers, and then Wes suggests they try something of his they’d never heard. After a little explaining–it’s not a simple melody and the bridge is tricky–and going thru the number slowly, Pim suggests they do it more uptempo, and they pull it off as if they had rehearsed it for weeks! It’s a great glimpse at top flight musicians interacting. It also gives you a good look at Wes Montgomery’s unique (and amazing) thumb technique. I couldn’t believe anybody could play so fast like that.

    Reply

  21. S.,

    there are actually clips on youtube of the session you mentioned in your comment:

    Video 01: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MNNox5HeN4
    Video 02: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbXrdm63OAA
    Video 03: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF78KBsilXg

    Fascinating stuff, indeed.

    BTW: I still play this CD frequently and carry it around with me wherever I go (on my Cowon S9) in lossless flac format. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    Volkher

    Reply

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