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The Joy of Sax

Saxophonist Keith Jacobson is adept at playing alto, tenor, and soprano. He’s spent many hours taking lessons from Grammy award–winning saxman Eric Marienthal.

“Those were great sessions, true cardio workouts on the sax,” says Jacobson on his website. “I’ve studied over 500 hours with [Marienthal] since 2001, and he’s an excellent and patient teacher.”

Jacobson moved from Seattle to San Diego in 2000, becoming a regular at jazz-friendly venues like Humphrey’s Backstage Lounge. His 2006 debut album I Wanna Be With You — featuring Marienthal as guest player and coproducer — hit number 39 on the SmoothJazz.com charts. His follow-up album, Turn on the Charm, was nominated for Best Jazz Album at the 2007 San Diego Music Awards and has had frequent play on local 98.1 KIFM.

For live performances, Jacobson mixes his own songs with classic jazz and covers of contemporary tracks such as Billy Joel’s “She’s Got a Way.”

“At some of these less glamorous solo gigs, I get onstage and nobody cares,” says Jacobson. “But by the end of the night people are into it and telling me later how much they enjoyed my performance. I really love those ‘only in Southern California’ moments when I’m playing late in the day, with the sun in my face, playing the smooth jazz I love. It’s really blissful.”

WHAT’S IN YOUR CD PLAYER?

1. Steely Dan, Aja. “With complex horns, blazing solos, and oddly timed songs, this album creates an original fusion that may seem strangely out of place by jazz or rock enthusiasts. Yet it’s perfectly natural for listeners who are comfortable in either genre.”

2. Hank Easton, Nylon and Steel. “Hank is San Diego’s best-kept secret, a true virtuoso on guitar. All three of his CDs are great, but this one is focused on beautiful acoustic guitar, and it’s my favorite.”

3. Eric Marienthal, Just Around the Corner. “There will always be a spot in my CD player with his name on it.”

MOST VISITED WEBSITES?

1. Digg.com. “This is a social news site, meaning it allows you to filter what type of news you want to receive — like technology, entertainment, or politics — and then arrange the results based on the number of user votes, or ‘diggs.’ Stories that receive enough positive votes are featured on the front page of the website.”

2. Last.fm.com. “This music-streaming website hooks you up with artists similar to ones you like, with a database that also picks new tunes for you based on what other users like you are listening to.”

3. Blinkx.com. “This site lets you keyword-search for the most obscure videos you can imagine. It shows you a preview of any clips it turns up, and it redirects you to a website where you can legally watch or purchase the viral video, TV show, or clip you were looking for.”

GUILTY PLEASURES?

1. “Microwaved M&Ms.”

2. “Gluing candy to the bush in our back yard and telling my son that the candy tree has grown again.”

3. “Half-hour hot-tub soaks, first thing in the morning.”

4. “Buying useless treasures at garage sales and hoarding them in my storage unit because I think one day I’ll sell them on eBay and make a fortune.”

5. “ ‘Dessert dessert,’ which is the second dessert you get for eating all of your first dessert. My son suggested that we should have ‘dessert dessert dessert,’ but I thought that was pushing it.”

FAVORITE HANGOUTS?

1. Anthology, downtown. “Classy all the way, with great food, cool ambiance, and the best entertainment in town.”

2. Ki’s Restaurant, Cardiff-by-the-Sea. “I like the casual setting, great view, and healthy food. It’s the only restaurant I know where I can get a salmon dinner and carrot juice at the same time.”

3. La Jolla Cove. “It’s got a beautiful view, it’s a nice place to swim or dive, and there are free music performances on certain days.”

4. Corvette Diner, Hillcrest. “This is my five-year-old’s number-one pick.”

BIGGEST POLITICAL CONCERN?

“I have to say the price of gas is my greatest concern, being that my job requires a lot of driving.”

BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

“I had the fortune to give jazz guitarist Joe Pass a ride from a gig to his hotel one night, and he told me this, about music and about life: ‘If you hit a wrong note, then make it right by what you play afterwards.’ ”

WORST JOB?

“Installing fiberglass insulation. It’s hot, dirty, exhausting, and then you itch for days.”

SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW WOULD KNOW OR GUESS?

“I graduated from college as a ceramic engineer. So I know how to make a toilet.”

WORST GIG?

“I once agreed to let a drunk lady join us to sing happy birthday for her boyfriend, and she wanted to do it like Marilyn Monroe. After the band started the song, she turned to us and asked, ‘How do the words go?’ ”

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Outtakes:

MUST-HAVE DVDS? 1. Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Live at Montreux 1982 and 1985: “I just like great guitar playing, and Stevie Ray Vaughan is one player I never get tired of.”

  1. Jazz – A Film by Ken Burns: “Plenty of great music, and lots of historical facts.”

  2. Caddyshack: “I’ve seen it a dozen times, and it still makes me laugh.”

  3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “Good to play on those days when you think you’re going crazy, and you need to remind yourself just how sane you really are. Comparatively, anyway.”

MOST VISITED WEBSITES? 4. Yelp.com: “Yelp is where people can read and write reviews on local dining, entertainment, and shopping. Just by entering your city and neighborhood, you can find thousands of opinions about which restaurant to eat at, which club to hit, and – especially – what places to avoid.”

  1. Ohdontforget.com: “A great website that allows you to jot down a quick reminder, and send it to a cell phone at a certain date and time. No need to register, and no annoying ads.”

  2. traveltalkradio.com: “Great travel-related information, news, and entertainment.”

FAVORITE CELEBRITY ENCOUNTER? “When I was a student at the University of Washington in the ‘80s, George C. Scott was filming on the campus. I searched the library where he was supposed be, but couldn’t find him. So I got on the elevator to leave and, just as the door closed, he squeezed in and was suddenly standing right next to me. I was trying to think of something intelligent to say, when the two other guys on the elevator started babbling ‘George C. Scott, George C. Scott,’ at which point I just decided to keep my mouth shut.”

Feb. 18, 2009

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Saxophonist Keith Jacobson is adept at playing alto, tenor, and soprano. He’s spent many hours taking lessons from Grammy award–winning saxman Eric Marienthal.

“Those were great sessions, true cardio workouts on the sax,” says Jacobson on his website. “I’ve studied over 500 hours with [Marienthal] since 2001, and he’s an excellent and patient teacher.”

Jacobson moved from Seattle to San Diego in 2000, becoming a regular at jazz-friendly venues like Humphrey’s Backstage Lounge. His 2006 debut album I Wanna Be With You — featuring Marienthal as guest player and coproducer — hit number 39 on the SmoothJazz.com charts. His follow-up album, Turn on the Charm, was nominated for Best Jazz Album at the 2007 San Diego Music Awards and has had frequent play on local 98.1 KIFM.

For live performances, Jacobson mixes his own songs with classic jazz and covers of contemporary tracks such as Billy Joel’s “She’s Got a Way.”

“At some of these less glamorous solo gigs, I get onstage and nobody cares,” says Jacobson. “But by the end of the night people are into it and telling me later how much they enjoyed my performance. I really love those ‘only in Southern California’ moments when I’m playing late in the day, with the sun in my face, playing the smooth jazz I love. It’s really blissful.”

WHAT’S IN YOUR CD PLAYER?

1. Steely Dan, Aja. “With complex horns, blazing solos, and oddly timed songs, this album creates an original fusion that may seem strangely out of place by jazz or rock enthusiasts. Yet it’s perfectly natural for listeners who are comfortable in either genre.”

2. Hank Easton, Nylon and Steel. “Hank is San Diego’s best-kept secret, a true virtuoso on guitar. All three of his CDs are great, but this one is focused on beautiful acoustic guitar, and it’s my favorite.”

3. Eric Marienthal, Just Around the Corner. “There will always be a spot in my CD player with his name on it.”

MOST VISITED WEBSITES?

1. Digg.com. “This is a social news site, meaning it allows you to filter what type of news you want to receive — like technology, entertainment, or politics — and then arrange the results based on the number of user votes, or ‘diggs.’ Stories that receive enough positive votes are featured on the front page of the website.”

2. Last.fm.com. “This music-streaming website hooks you up with artists similar to ones you like, with a database that also picks new tunes for you based on what other users like you are listening to.”

3. Blinkx.com. “This site lets you keyword-search for the most obscure videos you can imagine. It shows you a preview of any clips it turns up, and it redirects you to a website where you can legally watch or purchase the viral video, TV show, or clip you were looking for.”

GUILTY PLEASURES?

1. “Microwaved M&Ms.”

2. “Gluing candy to the bush in our back yard and telling my son that the candy tree has grown again.”

3. “Half-hour hot-tub soaks, first thing in the morning.”

4. “Buying useless treasures at garage sales and hoarding them in my storage unit because I think one day I’ll sell them on eBay and make a fortune.”

5. “ ‘Dessert dessert,’ which is the second dessert you get for eating all of your first dessert. My son suggested that we should have ‘dessert dessert dessert,’ but I thought that was pushing it.”

FAVORITE HANGOUTS?

1. Anthology, downtown. “Classy all the way, with great food, cool ambiance, and the best entertainment in town.”

2. Ki’s Restaurant, Cardiff-by-the-Sea. “I like the casual setting, great view, and healthy food. It’s the only restaurant I know where I can get a salmon dinner and carrot juice at the same time.”

3. La Jolla Cove. “It’s got a beautiful view, it’s a nice place to swim or dive, and there are free music performances on certain days.”

4. Corvette Diner, Hillcrest. “This is my five-year-old’s number-one pick.”

BIGGEST POLITICAL CONCERN?

“I have to say the price of gas is my greatest concern, being that my job requires a lot of driving.”

BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

“I had the fortune to give jazz guitarist Joe Pass a ride from a gig to his hotel one night, and he told me this, about music and about life: ‘If you hit a wrong note, then make it right by what you play afterwards.’ ”

WORST JOB?

“Installing fiberglass insulation. It’s hot, dirty, exhausting, and then you itch for days.”

SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW WOULD KNOW OR GUESS?

“I graduated from college as a ceramic engineer. So I know how to make a toilet.”

WORST GIG?

“I once agreed to let a drunk lady join us to sing happy birthday for her boyfriend, and she wanted to do it like Marilyn Monroe. After the band started the song, she turned to us and asked, ‘How do the words go?’ ”

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Comments
1

Outtakes:

MUST-HAVE DVDS? 1. Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Live at Montreux 1982 and 1985: “I just like great guitar playing, and Stevie Ray Vaughan is one player I never get tired of.”

  1. Jazz – A Film by Ken Burns: “Plenty of great music, and lots of historical facts.”

  2. Caddyshack: “I’ve seen it a dozen times, and it still makes me laugh.”

  3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “Good to play on those days when you think you’re going crazy, and you need to remind yourself just how sane you really are. Comparatively, anyway.”

MOST VISITED WEBSITES? 4. Yelp.com: “Yelp is where people can read and write reviews on local dining, entertainment, and shopping. Just by entering your city and neighborhood, you can find thousands of opinions about which restaurant to eat at, which club to hit, and – especially – what places to avoid.”

  1. Ohdontforget.com: “A great website that allows you to jot down a quick reminder, and send it to a cell phone at a certain date and time. No need to register, and no annoying ads.”

  2. traveltalkradio.com: “Great travel-related information, news, and entertainment.”

FAVORITE CELEBRITY ENCOUNTER? “When I was a student at the University of Washington in the ‘80s, George C. Scott was filming on the campus. I searched the library where he was supposed be, but couldn’t find him. So I got on the elevator to leave and, just as the door closed, he squeezed in and was suddenly standing right next to me. I was trying to think of something intelligent to say, when the two other guys on the elevator started babbling ‘George C. Scott, George C. Scott,’ at which point I just decided to keep my mouth shut.”

Feb. 18, 2009

Sign in to comment

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