Although Danish-born Martin Jacobsen has considered Paris his home base since 1995 before moving to Seoul in 2016, the busy saxophonist keeps traveling extensively throughout Europe and abroad and has performed in more than 25 countries.
Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, he began playing the tenor saxophone at the relatively late age 19, driven by a strong urge for musical expression after listening to jazz for about a year, especially the Miles Davis group with John Coltrane of the 1950s. He received a few lessons from fellow tenorman Tomas Franck, but largely taught himself to play. “It isn’t always the best way to learn because you can make mistakes, do things wrong and then you have to waste time correcting bad technique. But also, doing it the hard way, you can make discoveries. You definitely find out what is really important.”
Through the 1990s, Martin worked with a host of talented young jazz players on the Copenhagen scene and was heard with the Bust’n Bloopers Big Band with among others Bob Mintzer. In 1995, he took the advice of saxophonist Bob Rockwell who suggested he move to either New York or Paris. Martin plumped for “Paree” and has since been performing, recording and appearing in radio and television with Doug Raney, Bobby Durham, David Sanborn, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Mark Taylor, Yutaka Shiina and many others.
His latest SteepleChase release “Live in Tokyo” (2013) has confirmed his position among today’s most prominent European saxophonists.
Martin Jacobsen is frequently invited to hold jazz improvisation and saxophone technique clinics in various countries, and has been teaching at music schools in both Paris and Copenhagen. He has held clinics in France, Italy, Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia, Mongolia, Vietnam and Mozambique.
Jacobsen is also the author of “Let’s Speak Jazz! A Conversational Approach to Jazz Improvisation for Saxophonists” published in 2018 by Advance Music (Schott Music).