About Jacob William

…his open rhythmic pulse drives…
— Freejazz, Stef

Born and raised in India, Jacob has arrived via rare routes to play on the vast fields of Jazz and other creatively improvised and composed musics.

Jacob grew-up in a syncretic milieu; attended parochial school and traveled extensively from a very young age. His earliest years in music were spent singing in choirs and being engaged in informal learning of a wide array of diverse hybrid musics and playing various instruments. In his teens, Jacob started playing the Bass Guitar and soon began playing concerts and festivals all over India in the company of many forward looking elder musicians who had a particularly deep interest in Jazz. Jacob moved to the U.S. in 1991 after receiving a scholarship to study music.

In 2001, Jacob received a Master of Arts in music degree from Wesleyan University, where, his studies and work combined ethnomusicology, world-music, and experimental composition under the guidance of Anthony BraxtonNeely Bruce, and Alvin Lucier. In the realm of world-music, he also studied South-Indian vocal music with T. Viswanathan and percussion music with Ramanad Raghavan and David Nelson. During 1998-1999, he attended the New England Conservatory of Music and studied in the department of Third Stream Music / Contemporary Improvisation under Ran Blake and studied the Bass under Cecil McBee and John Lockwood. From Berklee College of music, he earned a Bachelor of music degree in 1997, after studying Composition and Arranging while concentrating on jazz performance. During this time, he also participated in Kenny Werner and Bob Brookmeyer master classes in composition and improvisation. And, he privately studied jazz improvisation with John LaportaHal Crook, and Charlie Banacos.

As an Improviser, Composer, and Electric Bass Guitar and Double Bass player, Jacob has contributed to over 20 recordings; some of which have been released on labels such as WarnerIntuitionMagnasound, among others. In 2009, Jacob’s Quartet recording titled Secondary Deviations was released internationally by Swedish record label Ayler. In 2010, Jacob recorded the music of his Para Quintet and Trio; both collaborative efforts involving Drummer Laurence Cook, Trumpeter Forbes Graham, Drummer Luther Gray, Alto Saxophonist Jim Hobbs and Pianist Steve Lantner. Jacob continues working with Guitarist Amit Heri and has also started newer partnerships with Alto Saxophonist Jorrit Dijkstra, Pianist Pandelis Karayorgis, and with Pianist Eric Zinman – Citizens Orchestra.

Jacob has worked with a diverse range of renowned personalities in Jazz and World-Music arenas, such as, Abraham K. AdzenyahLouiz BanksRanjit Barot,  Anthony BraxtonMaynard Ferguson,  Joe Hunt,  Jay Hoggard,  Rudresh MahanthappaCharlie MarianoGustavo OvallesLen ‘Boogsie’ SharpeOmar SosaT. Viswanathan, among many others. He frequently appears in concert halls, festivals, clubs, studios and other venues around the world. He has also appeared on Indian National Television and Radio DRS (Zurich). Jacob was also founding member of the group J.E.R.M. with which, between 1998 and 2003 he recorded and toured in the US and Europe.

Jacob has composed for a variety of instrumental, vocal, and electronic forces – and for groups ranging from Jazz combos, Theater and New Music Ensembles including, Memories/Ruminations: a ninety-minute piece for eighteen assorted instrumentalists. Also, interested in exploring the intersections of computer aided real-time interactive improvisation and composition, he is currently researching programming / programmable environments.

Jacob has been involved in introducing music composition to children and youth, using open-ended software tools as part of a collaborative initiative between SETC and MIT scientists and educators who are designing, developing, and deploying new and emergent technologies to significantly impact broad ranging learning processes.

Jacob has taught Improvisation and Composition on the campuses of Williams College, Bennington College, and was a Graduate teaching assistant at Wesleyan University. In addition, he has demonstrated and lectured on how to deploy current technologies to enable learning of music in several places, including University of Iowa.

Jacob is currently on the faculty of Bridgewater State University and at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

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