The younger brother of pianist Pim Jacobs, this Dutch artist is a multi-instrumentalist who wound up improvising in a variety of interesting European modern jazz groups alongside players such as saxophonist Bernt Rosengren and trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff. On bass, however, Rudolf Jacobs was most influenced by the bedrock of classic jazz rhythm section walkers -- Ray Brown, Jimmy Blanton, Oscar Pettiford, and Paul Chambers. He also played enough reeds to staff a woodwind section and at least in his teenage years gave his brother a bit of competition on piano. On the professional bandstand, however, the former allowed the latter to occupy the keyboard throne, and before long the siblings were accompanying foreign visitors such as Herbie Mann, with whom they recorded live in the second half of the '50s.
The Jacobs family hailed from Hilversum, headquarters of much of the Dutch broadcasting industry. Credits utilizing either the first name of Rudy or Rudolph combined with an eventual shift to the more authentically Dutch Ruud Jacobs have resultingly put some of the finest discographers into a haze as thick as a Dutch coffee shop, resulting in a schizophrenic smorgasbord of entries. Under any name, his association with his brother overlapped in several groups including the small combo of Wes Ilcken, pick-up rhythm for reedman Tony Scott, and radio broadcast accompaniment for vocalist Rita Reys -- Rudy's sister-in-law, Pim's wife. In recorded documentation of the Dutch jazz scene, Pim Jacobs lets his little brother wear both the bassist and tenor saxophonist hat. Individual achievements by Ruud Jacobs include being chosen for the Newport International Band in special jazz concerts at the Brussels World Fair, among other venues. The Newport International Band, whose membership also included the fine German pianist George Gruntz and masterful guitarist Gabor Szabo, cut a live album for Columbia in 1958.
During the following decade, the expansive combo with Mangelsdorff, Rosengren, and trumpeter Dusko Goykovich became a regular attraction at the Storyville club in Frankfurt, Germany. Jacobs is also an active producer with an ear for several different genres, a case where someone can really be Ruud without being really rude. In 1978 he co-produced Jan Akkerman's progressive rock opus Aranjuez, the same year presiding over a mainstream jazz session with pianist Hank Jones. Both his brother and sister-in-law use his production skills, as have more recent performers including Laura Fygi and the Buffoons, hopefully not a foolish decision.