Christian Jacob gained terrific exposure playing with the late Maynard Ferguson and during his extensive stint as vocalist Tierney Sutton's pianist. But he needs to be heard more frequently as a leader himself in order for his considerable abilities as a composer and arranger to be showcased in depth. Styne & Mine was somewhat overlooked by the jazz press when it was released in 2004, but there is much worth hearing in this collection of standards by Jule Styne and originals by Jacob. While almost all of the nine works by Styne should be familiar to seasoned jazz fans, the pianist's charts take each of them into new territory. Trey Henry's droning bass provides the backdrop for Jacob's lush introduction of "It's You or No One." Drummer Ray Brinker adds a funky backbeat to the leader's amusing setting of "Never, Never Land," though before long it transforms into an invigorating post-bop workout. Although Bob Merrill's lyrics to "People" are a bit drippy, fortunately, Jacob chooses an instrumental interpretation, bringing out the lyricism of its theme. Tierney Sutton adds her warm vocals to enjoyable treatments of the ballads "Guess I'll Hang My Tears out to Dry" and "I Fall in Love Too Easily." The centerpiece of the CD consists of four originals by the leader, highlighted by the bittersweet ballad "Lydia's Crush" and the lively "Piece Three." This outstanding privately issued CD is available directly from the artist at www.wilderjazz.com.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden