Multi-instrumentalist and composer Steve Jacobus has been composing and performing for more than 40 years. Born in Newark, NJ, he received early training in clarinet and sax. As a teenager he was drawn early to classical influences -- Aaron Copeland, Roy Harris, the French composers Debussy and Faure, but adds, "Music of every kind drew me in -- what we think of as "’classical,’ jazz, rock, ‘world’ music -- they are a constant element in our environment, along with the sounds of the natural and constructed worlds. They are part of an ongoing experiment in sound by musicians everywhere."
Today his focus is on using combinations of woodwinds -- oboe, soprano sax, alto and soprano flute, clarinet -- in layers and groups, together with cello, keyboards, guitar, percussion and, sometimes, multiple voices. His recordings are created in a home studio environment, without the use of technical wizardry. He prefers acoustic sounds, combinations of live instruments and voices without sampling.
Because he plays all of instruments himself, the possibilities for creative discovery are quite rich. Layers of woodwinds, strings, keyboards and percussion create the sound of a small orchestra with a variety of soloists.
"The emphasis is on performance in the studio," he says. "I experiment with combinations of instruments to create acoustic scenes, in the same way that a painter adds layers of color and texture to complete an image.
"Musicians are like sponges -- listening, watching, absorbing, experimenting," he says. "The great joy in this work is in the act of discovery -- an idea can be transformed into a whole range of acoustic landscapes."