Jacob Young's prowess on electric and acoustic guitar, as well as his affiliation with the ECM label, has garnered critical comparisons to such contemporary American jazz guitarists as Jim Hall, John Abercrombie, and Pat Metheny. Like his predecessors, Young has pursued an improvisational direction in his work that emphasizes a distinct melodicism and lyrical group interplay. While hailing from Norway, Young has freely acknowledged his American influences. In an ECM press release for his 2008 album Sideways, Young stated: "There is a continuity of Norwegian jazz that's apparent in many ways—perhaps mostly by its embrace of melodic improvisation in a frame with lots of space, providing the listener with a chance to reflect while listening. … Good music needs no passport," he continued. "It's a borderless enterprise."
Young was born in Lillehammer in 1970. His American father introduced him to jazz. "I grew up in a home with lot of freedom to listen to music," Young told an interviewer for Contemporary Musicians. "At the age of twelve, I took up the guitar and was, initially, self-taught on the instrument. Then followed instruction from Paul Weeden, Bjīrn Klakegg, Staffan W. Olsson, Knut V'rnes, Vic Juris, John Abercrombie, and Jim Hall," he said. "As a child I remember hearing Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain," he recalled. "As an adolescent, [I listened to and was influenced by] groups like The Clash, Jimi Hendrix, Pat Metheny, Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett, John Abercrombie, Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Alf Prīysen, The Police. As an adult: Jim Hall and all the rest." His guitar studies at the University of Oslo led to a scholarship to the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. "It was very important for me to come to New York City," he told Contemporary Musicians. He credited his famous tutors for taking his playing to new levels. "At the New School I played in Jim Hall's ensemble and took guitar lessons from him. Those were decisive experiences and I was really lucky to have had that chance. Jim Hall has been a guiding inspiration for my playing," he stated in an ECM press release, adding that his private lessons with John Abercrombie were also beneficial. "He taught me that there are hard and fast rules, for everyone, when playing music, but you can break the rules."
After completing his studies at the New School, Young returned to Norway. He played with such artists as Karin Krog, Bendik Hofseth, Jan Erik Vold, and Egil Kapstad, Nils Petter Molvaer, Trygve Seim, Arve Henriksen, Christian Wallumrod, and Jarle Vespestad. He recorded three albums for local labels, but came to the attention of ECM producer and founder Manfred Eicher in 2001. "He came to see me with my group at famed Oslo club Blå in 2001," he said in an interview for Contemporary Musicians. When asked if this was one of the highlights of his musical career thus far, he responded: "Yes—of course! [It was a] dream come true."
Young's ECM debut, Evening Falls, elicited ecstatic reviews from jazz journalists, who were quoted at length in the ECM press kit. Writing in JazzTimes, Thomas Conrad enthused, "Evening Falls is bright with promise. Young's sound has some of Pat Metheny's seductive warmth and resonant richness, and he possesses a gift for finding epiphanies of melodic narrative, irresistible hooks and resolutions. Young's nine originals on Evening Falls are remarkable for their freshness, grace, and lyrical beauty." John Kellman, writing for AllAboutJazz.com, concurred with Conrad's assessment, finding Young "a singular artist who manages to blend a more ethnic Scandinavian approach with a clear respect for the American tradition. Evening Falls heralds the international arrival of an artist who, with a number of years behind him, has already developed a mature and personal approach. As a player, composer, and bandleader he will clearly be someone to watch." the Guardian critic John Fordham praised the album for avoiding what has become an unfair stereotype of ECM recordings produced by Eicher, commenting that it "has its surprisingly jazzy and nimble moments." All Music Guide critic Thom Jurek wrote that Young's ECM debut is the label's "most auspicious guitar debut … since perhaps Pat Metheny's Bright Size Life."
For his sophomore ECM effort, the 2008 release Sideways, Young once again enlisted the quintent of Eick, Johansen, drummer Jon Christensen, and double-bass player Mats Eilertsen. Nearly 40 years older than Young, Christensen was dubbed by the bandleader as the group's director: "He's more of a director than a drummer in the traditional sense, at least the way he plays now," he stated in the ECM press release. The same release quoted All Music Guide critic Matt Collar, who felt that the album combined "melodic, cool-influenced sounds" with "avant-garde group improvisation."
Young's memories of recording his albums included frank assessments of the finished recordings' shortcomings and successes. "I always want to do everything over again, but at the same time I am happy with how things turned out," he told Contemporary Musicians. "Music is evolving because we continue to grow all the time whether we like it or not. So it is normal to want to change things when listening back. That's why I seldom listen back. But when I do listen back I usually get a kick because it sounds fresh, original and new. But what is important is always the next tune, the next album, the next concert."
For the Record …
Born July 14, 1970; son of Lawrence Jay Young (American-born writer and social work studies professor) and Anniken Sandvig (an editor and artist); married Kjersti Kvam; children: Stella and Sofia. Education: Foss Music High School, Oslo; University of Oslo; New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, New York City.
Released Evening Falls, 2004; released Sideways, 2008.
Addresses: Record company—Tina Pelikan, ECM Records, phone: 212-333-1405, fax: 212-445-3509, email: [email protected]
This Is You, 1994.
Where Flamingos Fly, Grappa, 2003.
Evening Falls, ECM, 2004.
Sideways, ECM, 2008.
All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (May 14, 2008).
Further information for this profile was obtained from a May 2008 interview with Jacob Young for Contemporary Musicians and from the ECM press kit for Sideways.
Young, Jacob 1979–
YOUNG, Jacob 1979–
Born September 10, 1979, in Renton (some sources cite Roy), WA; son of Michael Young, Sr. and Rhonda Wilson. Education: Attended high school in San Diego, CA. Avocational Interests: Auto racing, horseback riding, surfing, skateboarding, mountain biking.
Career: Actor. Singer at various venues. Also worked in a restaurant.
Awards, Honors: Daytime Emmy Award nomination, outstanding younger actor in a drama series, 1999, for The Bold and the Beautiful; Daytime Emmy Award, outstanding younger actor in a drama series, 2002, for General Hospital.
Television Appearances; Series:
Nathan Rallingston, Uncle Jack and the Dark Side of the Moon, BBC, 1992–1995.
Patrick Webber, Uncle Jack and the Dark Side of the Moon, BBC, 1996.
Eric "Rick" Forrester, Jr., The Bold and the Beautiful (also known as Belleza y poder), CBS, 1997–1999.
Sam Myers, Uncle Jack and the Dark Side of the Moon, BBC, 1999–2000.
Lucas Lorenzo "Lucky" Spencer, General Hospital, ABC, 2000–2003.
Lucas Lorenzo "Lucky" Spencer, Port Charles (also known as Port Charles: Desire, Port Charles: Fate, Port Charles: The Gift, Port Charles: Miracles, Port Charles: Naked Eyes, Port Charles: Secrets, Port Charles: Superstitions, Port Charles: Surrender, Port Charles: Tainted Love, Port Charles: Tempted, Port Charles: Time in a Bottle, and Port Charles: Torn), ABC, 2000–2003.
Adam "J. R." Chandler, Jr., All My Children, ABC, beginning 2003.
Television Appearances; Miniseries:
Dean Torrence, The Beach Boys: An American Family, ABC, 2000.
Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:
Presenter, The 26th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, CBS, 1999.
Presenter, The 27th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, ABC, 2000.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
Celebrity contestant, "South Beach, Florida: Parts 2–4," Search Party, E! Entertainment Television, 1999, 2000.
Himself, Mad TV, Fox, 2000.
Celebrity host, Slime Time Live, Nickelodeon, 2001.
Host, Video Countdown (also known as Fox Family Channel Video Countdown), Fox Family Channel, 2001.
Celebrity Dismissed, MTV, 2002.
Himself, Live with Regis and Kelly, syndicated, 2002, 2003.
Heath Hamilton, "Daytime Emmys: Parts 1 & 2," Hope & Faith, ABC, 2004.
(Uncredited) Actor on television, Legally Blonde, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 2001.
Hunter, The Girl Next Door, Twentieth Century–Fox, 2004.
3 Day Test, Public Filmworks, c. 2005.
Jacob Young (also known as Devil's in the Details), Artemis Records, 2001.
"Life Is Good," 2001.
"Life Is Good," 2001.
Inside Soap, June, 2000, p. 8.
Soap Opera Update, September 25, 2001, p. 21; April 9, 2002, p. 52.
Jacob Young Official Site,http://www.jacobyoung.org, May 29, 2004.